The Nationals are determined to give Class AAA Syracuse pitchers Brad Peacock and Tom Milone experience in the major leagues during the end of their season. They just don’t know when.

The Nationals have yet to decide when Peacock or Milone will make their major league debuts. The Nationals, out of contention at 10 ½ games behind wild-card leading Atlanta, want to use the rest of the season to evaluate their best major-league ready pitching prospects. They just aren’t sure if Peacock and Milone are ready yet.

Milone will return tonight after missing about two weeks with a sore bicep, Manager Davey Johnson. The Nationals placed Milone on the minor league seven-day disabled list, which Johnson said was only precautionary. Before the Nationals call up Milone, they will make sure he has fully recovered. But his numbers leave little doubt he deserves a chance – Milone has struck out 120 and walked 10 at Syracuse, the best ratio in the International League.

Peacock dominated at Class AA Harrisburg, going 10-2 with a 2.01 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings. innings. But his adjustment to Class AAA, at least by the numbers, has not been as smooth. In five starts, Peacock has a 4.97 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 15 walks.

Whenever Peacock or Milone surfaces, their presence will force one start out of the rotation, at least temporarily. One candidate is Livan Hernandez, who in his last five starts has failed to record an out in the fifth inning three times. Johnson, though, has not reached the point where has seriously considered rearranging his rotation.

“Livo has been a mainstay as far as I’m concerned,” Johnson said. “He goes out there no matter what and he gives you the innings. Those are decisions, you know, if we feel that there’s a young arm that needs a spot start here or there, I think Livo would understand that. I’m not thinking out of it right now.”