The Washington Nationals were off Tuesday, the free day between their season opener and the next game a gift for having good weather when the curtain went up on 2013.

And yet, there was Chad Tracy, standing in on Jordan Zimmermann’s bullpen session in an otherwise quiet Nationals Park.

Tracy tracked the pitches the right-hander threw in an attempt to keep his eyes sharp and his bat ready if and when manager Davey Johnson should call on him in a game.

“We work harder now, I think, when I’m not playing,” Tracy said. “I’ve always said, I probably hit more now than I do when I’m playing every day.”

The Nationals closed their spring training slate Friday. They went into Wednesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins having played just one game in the interim, a 2-0 victory Monday, and all of their regulars played all nine innings. They expect that scenario, at least with regard to playing time, to repeat itself often.

On a team with a lineup that requires few pinch-hitters and even fewer defensive replacements, the Nationals' bench players, Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina, are faced with a difficult transition.

They played most every day in spring training, part of Johnson’s plan to have them sharp by the time the season opened, but now they have to maintain that edge with several days between their last extended action and their next — and no word on when it might come.

“They’re where they need to be,” Johnson said Wednesday. “But with a lot of off days early and especially with the makeup of this ballclub where nobody wants to come out of the lineup, I’ll be trying my best to get them in.

“Of course, I usually get the dagger eye when I try to double switch one of [my regulars], especially [second baseman Danny Espinosa],” Johnson said, laughing. “But I knew that [keeping the bench sharp] was going to be an issue coming in.”