Manager Davey Johnson plans to rest his regular players if the Washington Nationals clinch the National League East title and he doesn't care one bit what anyone else thinks.
After beating the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, the Nationals' magic number to clinch the division is five. The rest of Washington's regular-season opponents are still in the chase for wild-card berths, including the St. Louis Cardinals.
And if other clubs hope the Nationals will put their best lineup on the field against the Cardinals?
"I'm resting my regulars. End of conversation," Johnson said.
"I have a lot of confidence in the other guys, too, in that they're fully capable as they've shown all year long when they've had the opportunity to play. My responsibility is to getting my club ready for the next day," he added. "But it's happened in the past. I've had criticism, and I've said, `Fine. I'm not worried.' "
Johnson made it clear that he's not thrilled about the way this season's playoffs were set up to accommodate the second wild-card team in each league. If the Nationals wind up as the NL's top-seeded club — they have the league's best record — they will need to wait until the wild-card playoff to learn who their opponent will be.
"You don't know who you're going to play, and so it's really difficult," Johnson said.
"I don't like to criticize Major League Baseball, but from an operational standpoint, to line up your pitching, it's very difficult. It's great for the fans, but boy, for a manager, it's tough. It's actually easier for the clubs fighting for the wild card, because they'll know who they have to beat to move ahead. And then if they get it, they'll know who they're going to play. I don't. I shouldn't be handicapped that way."
Athletics' Coco Crisp is still out
Oakland Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp is not in the starting lineup Monday for a sixth consecutive game because of an infection in both eyes.
Manager Bob Melvin says Crisp has seen three doctors, including a visit to a specialist in New York on Sunday. Melvin says he holds out hope for a quick return but notes that Crisp's condition has not improved much.
Crisp last started Tuesday against Detroit before leaving in the fourth inning. He entered Friday as a pinch-runner against the New York Yankees and stole a base.
Marlins' Heath Bell slams Ozzie Guillen
If Ozzie Guillen doesn't return as manager of the Miami Marlins, one player that won't miss him is reliever Heath Bell.
Bell said as much Monday on radio show.
"It's been an interesting year with Ozzie, and that's pretty much all I'll say about that," Bell said. "It's a hard to respect a guy that doesn't tell you the truth and doesn't tell you face to face. There are probably reasons why. If I said something, if I did something, I'm going to own up to it. What you see is what you get.
"I stunk in April, plain and simple. I said I stunk. I worked hard. I busted my butt. The second half, I've had a tremendous second half. I'm not closing. I know that. I've kept my mouth shut because I want to regain what I had and I feel like I can't do that."
Bell, who since the All-Star break has a 3.12 earned-run average compared to a 6.75 first-half mark, added that he thought Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has the right vision. Asked whether he wanted to be back with the Marlins in 2013, Bell said, "Without a doubt."
Bell's response to what kind of manager the Marlins need: "We need a guy that leads us, that everybody respects and looks up to. That's all we need."
Bell signed a three-year, $21-million deal with the Marlins in the off-season that includes a vesting $9-million option for 2015 if Bell totals 55 games finished in 2014 or 100 games finished in 2013-14.