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.

Jimmy Nelson to undergo back surgery

Jimmy Nelson back surgery
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Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports that Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson will undergo lumbar surgery on his lower back on Tuesday.

Nelson, 31, signed with the Dodgers on an incentive-laden one-year, $1.25 million contract with a vesting 2021 option back in January. With incentives, Nelson could have pushed his 2021 option from $2 million to $9 million. The Dodgers can instead buy him out of his contract for $500,000.

At the beginning of spring training in February, Nelson was battling groin and lower back issues and ultimately exited a late-February bullpen session due to back issues, ending his chance to win a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Nelson missed the entire 2018 season due to a shoulder injury and briefly pitched for the Brewers last season. Across 22 innings, the right-hander allowed 17 earned runs on 25 hits and 17 walks with 26 strikeouts.

David Price recently opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the Dodgers’ rotation appears to include Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, Alex Wood, and one of Ross Stripling, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin.