MIAMI -- Seven games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second National League Wild Card spot, the Nationals need their starters in the lineup every day.
Left fielder Bryce Harper returned after sitting out Wednesday's series finale against the Phillies because of a hip strain. The team had an off-day Thursday.
"He wasn't feeling that great coming in, but he came in and after he got a little treatment he said, 'I'm not 100 percent, but I want to be in there,'" Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "'Well, you're in there.'"
The origin of the injury remains unknown, but Harper got treatment right before Monday's game. On Tuesday, he went 0-for-5 and scored two runs.
"Just a little hip sprain," Johnson said. "He still can run good. I think occasionally, he aggravates it at home plate on a swing and as soon as he gets out of the box. The trainers informed me that it's not something that will get worse, so he can play with it."
Span scratched, day to day with groin tightness
MIAMI -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span was a late scratch from Friday night's series opener against the Marlins with tightness in his right groin, and he is day to day.
Span, who is currently riding a career-high 17-game hitting streak, was initially set to lead off for Washington. During this stretch, Span is batting .406 with three doubles, two triples, a home run, five RBIs and 11 runs.
"Last couple days I didn't really say much, but got here [Friday], tried to get loose tried to go on the field for BP and just couldn't get it going," Span said.
The 29-year-old, who doesn't remember exactly when the injury occurred, does know his groin started to bother him during the Phillies series. He received treatment for it on Friday.
"[I'll] see how I feel when I get here [Saturday]," Span said. "If I wake up [Saturday] and get here and get some treatment and keep moving around and feel like I can go, I'm definitely going to put myself in the lineup."
Corey Brown took Span's place in the order and went 0-for-3 on Friday.
Detwiler ready to throw off mound in Miami
MIAMI -- Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler plans to throw off a mound for the first time since July sometime this weekend.
The 27-year-old, who was shut down for 30 days with a herniated disk in his lower back that has kept him out since July 4, made the trip to Miami with the team.
Detwiler has been throwing long toss as well as all of his pitches, going about his typical routine between starts. He has been working on core and stabilization exercises.
Since his arm isn't stretched out, Detwiler would have to pitch out of the bullpen upon a possible return.
"We'll take it every bullpen session and see how it is and how he bounces back," manager Davey Johnson said. "Ideally, I'd like to see him pitch in a game before the end of the year. I think that's going to be important for him mentally going forward and into next year."
Before landing on the DL, Detwiler was 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 13 starts over 71 1/3 innings.
"I just want to be back sometime," Detwiler said. "Every time I look at the schedule, I realize there's not many games left, so it pushes me to really want to get back out there a little sooner."
Johnson comments on Fernandez's innings limit
MIAMI -- Innings limits are nothing new to the Nationals, who came into Friday's game as the second-to-last opponent for Miami's Jose Fernandez in 2013.
Taylor Jordan already reached his limit in mid-August. Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg ended their seasons early in 2011 and '12, respectively.
"I'm glad they're shutting him down after 170 innings," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Fernandez. "When I had Dwight [Gooden] at 19, he had already pitched 200 innings the year before in Lynchburg."
There is a difference between the trio of Washington pitchers and Fernandez: Tommy John surgery.
Jordan, Zimmermann and Strasburg each underwent the procedure. Fernandez, 21, has surpassed his previous career high in innings (134) with 158 2/3 entering Friday.
"A guy like that, you don't want to push too hard or limit," Zimmermann said. "You see [Matt] Harvey -- he's got arm problems now. You never know what's going to happen and end up hurting a big piece of your future."
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.