As trade rumors continue to swirl around him, Twins center fielder Denard Span is finally on the verge of returning from the concussion that has sidelined him for the past two months.
Span, who’s been rehabbing at Triple-A for the past two weeks while taking multiple days off, told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he expects to play one final game at Rochester tonight before joining the Twins on their West Coast road trip.
Christensen speculates that the Twins might be a little more cautious with his timetable, as Span hasn’t played for them since June 3 and hit just .207 with a .448 OPS through his first eight rehab games.
His being activated from the disabled list prior to Sunday’s trade deadline isn’t necessarily required in order for Span to be on the move, although obviously the Nationals (and any other teams interested in him) would love to see him cleared for a return before pulling the trigger on a deal.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.