Brutal news here for the Nationals, as Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that center fielder Denard Span is headed back to the 15-day disabled list with left hip inflammation and is unlikely to return this season.
Span was just activated on Tuesday after missing six weeks due to a nagging back injury. He appeared in two games before sitting out Thursday with what was termed as back soreness. According to James Wagner of the Washington Post, Nationals manager Matt Williams said that Span’s hip issue is related to his core and his back. Of course, Span got a late start on the year after a pair of core muscle repair surgeries. And now his year will apparently end prematurely, leaving the Nationals to make due without their leadoff man as they attempt to play catch-up in the National League East.
Span has been really good when in the lineup this season, batting .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 61 games. However, he has just had some rotten luck on the health front. It’s worth noting that he’s due to be a free agent this offseason, so his tenure with the Nationals might be over altogether.
Rookie Michael Taylor will serve as the Nationals’ regular center fielder the rest of the way. The 24-year-old left tonight’s game against the Padres with a right knee contusion after crashing into the outfield fence. Fortunately for the Nationals, he’s considered day-to-day.
Add another injury to the list for the Nationals tonight, as Michael Taylor was forced to exit in the top of the seventh inning against the Padres after crashing into the outfield fence.
Taylor, who made the start in center field in place of Denard Span, was trying to track down a fly ball off the bat of Melvin Upton, Jr. and made a leap. However, he came up empty-handed and hit the wall at full speed. Upton ended up with a triple on the play.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Taylor appeared to suffer an injury to his right knee. Bryce Harper took his place in center field while Danny Espinosa moved over to left field and Trea Turner entered the game to play second base.
So, that thing about the Nationals’ projected Opening Day lineup finally being in place? Well, Denard Span sat out tonight’s game against the Padres with a sore back and Yunel Escobar was forced to exit in the sixth inning after he was hit in the right hand by a pitch.
Escobar was hit by Andrew Cashner with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning. It brought in the Nationals’ first run of the night and tied the game. The Nationals would score another run in the inning to take the lead. Escobar remained in the game initially before Danny Espinosa replaced him in the lineup and Anthony Rendon moved over to third. The Nationals should provide an update after the game.
Escobar has been all sorts of banged up this season and just missed some time last weekend with a hyperextended neck. The 32-year-old has still managed to be one of the Nationals’ best players, batting .308/.367/.423 with nine home runs and 42 RBI over 112 games.