Denard Span headed back to DL with hip inflammation, unlikely to return this season

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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.