-- The Washington Nationals took advantage of rules of interleague play, which grant a designated hitter to National League clubs playing in American League parks, by starting Wil Cordero as the DH in Tuesday night's game against the Anaheim Angels.

Cordero, who made his second start of the season, entered the game without a hit in 12 at-bats this season. He spent seven weeks on the disabled list with a torn meniscus in his left knee, and had seen only pinch-hitting duty since being activated May 30.

Cordero said it was good to get a start -- he hit sixth, behind third baseman Vinny Castilla -- but wasn't overly excited. He went 1 for 4 with a run scored.

"We're winning, so that's good," he said before the game. "But I haven't been contributing. Let's wait till I contribute. Then, we'll have something to talk about."

Manager Frank Robinson is one of Cordero's biggest advocates, particularly because he hit .278 with 16 home runs in 436 at-bats for the 2003 Montreal Expos. "He gets big hits for you," Robinson said.

Prior to Tuesday, the only time Cordero had more than one at-bat in a game was April 7, when he played first base against Philadelphia, but injured his knee.

With players such as second baseman Jose Vidro and pitcher Joey Eischen scheduled to return from the disabled list in the next month, the Nationals will have choices to make about who to cut. Though Robinson believes in Cordero, he is also realistic.

"With the situation we're in, you're going to have to produce to be able to hold on to your job," Robinson said. "That's not a threat against anybody. But there are no free passes."

Hitless Johnson

When Nick Johnson went 0 for 3 and failed to draw a walk or get hit by a pitch Monday, it was just the third time in his 63 games this season that he has failed to reach base. He entered Tuesday's game among the NL's top 10 in batting (fourth at .330), walks (tied for eighth with 38) and on-base percentage (second at .446).