During the month of July, the Washington Nationals’ offense has had the lowest batting average in all of baseball (.182). This is partially due to playing without most of its regulars as Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and Jayson Werth are all on the disabled list. Well, you could add one more name to that list and it’s the Nationals’ leadoff hitter and sparkplug.
William Ladson of MLB.com reported last night that a source told him that Denard Span is likely heading to the disabled list due to his recurring back spasms. On Thursday afternoon, Span went to go to see a back specialist in Texas to find out why his back spasms keep occurring. In the Ladson article, he said the source told him that “the appointment went well.”
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Since June 7 against the Chicago Cubs, the 31-year-old center fielder has been in and out of the lineup with those back spasms. The most recent case came on Monday night when Span was pulled from the game after the second inning, a game that was halted during the bottom of the first inning because of a short rain delay.
This season, Span has played in 59 games, hit .304 with five home runs and 22 RBI’s, has a .360 on-base percentage, and has stolen 11 bases. With Span now likely being out for a while, the Nats will play Michael Taylor as the everyday center field and rotate the left field position between Tyler Moore, Clint Robinson, and Matt den Dekker.
The Nationals will also hope that Yunel Escobar will be back in the lineup tonight when the team begins their three game series at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles. Escobar left Tuesday night’s game in the fifth inning due to hamstring tightness and missed Wednesday’s game as well.
Yesterday, it was James Wagner of the Washington Post who tweeted that infielder Wilmer Difo, who is currently at double-A Harrisburg, will be joining the Nats this weekend in Baltimore:
If Difo is called up, it will be his third stint with the Washington Nationals this season. The 23-year-old was called up to the Nats on May 19 when Jayson Werth was placed on the disabled list with a wrist injury. He was also the 26th man during Game 2 of the Nats’ doubleheader against the Phillies on June 28.
Difo has hit .167 in six games with the big league club. Down at double-A Harrisburg, he is hitting .286 with 18 RBI’s, has a .324 on-base percentage, and has stolen ten bases in 11 atempts. He is hitting .313 during the month of July.
Update: This afternoon, the Nats did place Span on the 15-day DL, but it is retroactive to July 7, which means if it is just 15 days, Span only misses five games after the All-Star Break. Wilmer Difo will be coming up for him to fill the roster spot. In addition, right-handed starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann is going on paternity leave, which allows Aaron Barrett to make his return to the bullpen for the first time since June 11. He’s been out due to a strained right bicep: