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Davey Martinez juggles Washington Nationals’ bullpen arms...

Dakota Bacus will rehab at alternate site, while Tanner Rainey, Will Harris pitch in a lopsided game...

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Juggling a bullpen is always one of the hardest jobs for a Major League manager – and that is certainly the case this year during a pandemic.

Labor Day brought more decisions for manager Dave Martinez, whose club activated reliever James Bourque before the game and put Dakota Bacus on the 10-day Injured List with a right flexor strain.

Then in a home game against the Rays, Martinez used Tanner Rainey and Will Harris with a big lead late in the contest.

“I want to keep those guys as fresh as possible,” Martinez said before Tuesday’s game with Tampa Bay.

Rainey (2.45 ERA in 18 games) had not pitched since Friday when he gave up a solo homer to rookie Randy Arozarena in the eighth on Monday as he took over for Max Scherzer with the score 6-0.

Then Harris (2.61 ERA in 12 games), signed to a three-year contract before the season, came on to start the ninth. He allowed one hit and two walks before closer Daniel Hudson got the last two outs in the 6-1 victory. Harris also had not pitched since Friday.

“Harris is throwing the ball really well,” Martinez said Tuesday. “He is used to throwing 60 innings per year.”

Bacus made his Major League debut Aug. 9 with Washington and had an ERA of 7.94 in his first 11 games with the Nationals.

“I talked to him yesterday. He did not feel that bad. He will go down there (to Fredericksburg) and rehab and hope to get him back,” Martinez said Tuesday.

“Dakota has been in this organization a long time,” Brad Holman, the player development pitching coordinator, said Monday from Fredericksburg. “He takes the ball and he pitches; he is very low maintenance. He is a pitching coaches’ best scenario. He is just very self-sufficient. He competes well – he is just a guy to have and goes about his business as a professional. He has been able to do a lot of things to the baseball – he sinks it, he spins it. He very seldom throws a straight ball. He is an overachiever.”

Bourque, 27, made his Major League debut last year with the Nationals and did not allow a run in his first two outings this year.

“He has three above-average pitches – fastball, curve, and change. The biggest issue has just been (throwing) strikes,” said Holman, the pitching coach last year at Triple-A Fresno. “He has some funk and deception (in his delivery) but sometimes it is tough to repeat that. He will falter by walking a couple of guys. But stuff-wise, he is pretty good. He is a hard worker and perfectionist and always wants to be better.”

Martinez said he is trying to juggle his young arms in a condensed 60-game season. “I am trying to be extremely careful,” he said Tuesday.

The Nationals had a team ERA of 5.16 in games through Monday. That was 14th out of 15 teams in the National League – only the Rockies at 5.46 were worse.

Washington starters had an ERA of 5.62 while the bullpen was at 4.56 going into Tuesday’s game, with Aníbal Sánchez on the mound against the Rays.