Denard Span out at least 4-6 weeks after second surgery

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Nationals center fielder Denard Span, who underwent offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia, went under the knife again Monday to fix a “right core muscle injury.”

Span made his spring training debut Thursday, going 0-for-2 against the Mets, and there was no indication something was wrong then. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes that several prominent players, including Miguel Cabrera, had core muscle surgery in recent years and the typical recovery timetable was at least 4-6 weeks.

That means Span is definitely out for Opening Day and may miss the entire first month of the season. In the meantime 24-year-old prospect Michael Taylor could get a chance to step in for Span as the Nationals’ starting center fielder after hitting .304 with 23 homers and a .915 OPS in 110 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

Washington is already without left fielder Jayson Werth and backup outfielder Nate McLouth due to injuries, so the Nationals are running thin at a spot where they previously appeared to have plenty of depth.

Nick Pivetta to rejoin Phillies’ rotation

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Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.

Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.

Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.