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Span to DL, Zimmermann to paternity list, Barrett activated

Jul 10, 2015, 6:12 PM EDT

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[UPDATED: 6:12 p.m.]

BALTIMORE — The Nationals placed Denard Span on the disabled list and Jordan Zimmermann on the paternity leave list Friday afternoon, part of a flurry of roster moves before the start of their weekend series against the Orioles.

Infielder Wilmer Difo was recalled from Class AA Harrisburg to take Span’s roster spot and give the Nationals another position player this weekend. Reliever Aaron Barrett, meanwhile, was activated off the DL after missing 24 games with a right biceps strain, and will take Zimmermann’s roster spot for now.

Span’s placement on the 15-day DL — the team officially says he has back tightness — had been surmised for several days. The injured center fielder flew to Dallas on Thursday to be examined by a specialist after a month spent dealing with occasional back spasms and made it clear he did not expect to play at all in this weekend’s series.

Manager Matt Williams said the MRI found no structural damage and they believe he will be able to return soon after games resume following the All-Star break.

“It’s good news. The results of the MRI and the specialist he saw found nothing alarming, which is good,” Williams said. “We have to look at his history and look at the two surgeries he had this winter and say that there’s some changes in there. So we have to address them. We have him another set of exercises to further his strength. He’ll start that process and he’ll be back quickly, so that’s a good sign.”

That roster move is retroactive to July 7, so Span will be eligible to return as soon as July 22. With the All-Star break next week, he could wind up missing as few as nine games, assuming he’s not more seriously injured.

Span expressed worry before he left for Dallas that his back injury was something serious, that it could jeopardize his career. Williams said those feelings are understandable and that Span is relieved to know his diagnosis.

“You can understand that. You don’t know why something is happening and you’re trying to figure it all out. Some days are good, some days are not so good. All the news is great, that will give him a sense of relief. It is certainly a relief for all of us and it will allow him to get aggressive in his rehab to get back in this short time,” Williams explained.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, will start on Saturday. Sunday’s starter has yet to be determined, though all indications point to Max Scherzer getting the nod.

Barrett returns to the Nationals’ bullpen after missing nearly four weeks with a biceps strain. The right-hander was 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 30 games before suffering the injury while throwing a pitch in Milwaukee, but did not surrender a run in four rehab appearances with Class A Potomac.

Barrett’s injury looked ominous at the time, and he admitted Friday he was initially worried he had suffered serious damage to his arm.

“A couple outings before that, it was really bothering me,” he said. “And then when I pitched in that game, the last five or six pitches, I literally couldn’t feel my arm. So it definitely scared me, for sure. I didn’t know if it was anything more serious than it was. I think if I would’ve continued to go on, I think I could’ve really hurt something more extreme. It could be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully I caught it before it got worse.”


  1. micksback1 - Jul 10, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    I just hope Denard gets well soon. I am not a Barrett fan and this could be it for him. I hope he does well. Hope Nats can win series to avoid my O’s friends ribbing me the rest of the season.

    On a unrelated topic, I was so happy to see that flag come down this morning.

    • nats106 - Jul 10, 2015 at 3:54 PM

      Well, not the rest of the season. We get another chance at the end of September if we don’t take this series.

    • veejh - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:47 PM

      Meh. PC is out of control.

  2. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 10, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    Barrett=Waster of meal money.

  3. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    Aaron Barrett is averaging 11.8 K/9 to only 2.5 BB/9. He has a decent 1.22 WHIP and an outstanding 2.18 FIP.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so I suppose I would say that if it’s your opinion that Aaron Barrett is a waste and may be on his last chance to pitch in the big leagues, it’s not a very good opinion.

    • hokiepokster92 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:35 PM

      It’s amazing how often the eye test doesn’t jibe with a player’s actual statistics. Often these evaluations are based on a small sample size.

      If anyone just started watching baseball this week, one would think the Cincy Reds are the bonafide contender while the Nats are the middling franchise.

      • Section 222 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:39 PM

        I do believe that some posters here think that.

  4. NatsLady - Jul 10, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    Speaking of the bullpen, Barves are shopping Grilli.

    Fish are also open for business.

    • nats106 - Jul 10, 2015 at 3:59 PM

      Latos-now there is a waste of meal money if I ever saw one.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:07 PM

      Well, Haren is usually good for a half-season. Unfortunately, this year, he’s already had that half. But someone will take a chance. And not even trying to shop Morse?

    • nats128 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:09 PM

      That would seem to signal the Barves are conceding being a playoff team. Saw that earlier on the Fish and the list has to be long on there list of available players. Mikey Morse has to be available to any team willing to buyout the rest of his contract.

      • Section 222 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:40 PM

        I feel like the Braves conceded being a playoff team during this past off season, and especially when they traded Kimbr They’ve just been lucky the Nats haven’t played up to expectations.

      • nats128 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:46 PM

        I expected they would end up in 4th. To see them this close to .500 at the All Star break is suprizing to me!

      • Section 222 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:51 PM

        Probably surprising to John Hart too. 🙂

    • veejh - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:52 PM

      ewwwwwWWWWWWwwwww….Haren. haha!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:22 PM

      Well deserved and I heard the Potomac crowd got to see the Lucas’s younger brother who made his first trip to Woodbridge. Hard to miss him I guess at a height almost equal to Lucas.

    • Section 222 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:42 PM

      Someone really revises the rankings of prospects on a week to week basis? And there’s an audience for it? Jeez, that’s even dumber that power rankings.

  5. langleyclub - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:07 PM

    So, of the current 11 non-catcher position players on the 25 man roster, 8 of them are:

    – Manny Burriss
    – Wilmer Difo
    – Matt den Dekker
    – Dan Uggla
    – Clint Robinson
    – Michael Taylor
    – Tyler Moore
    – Danny Espinosa

    Heading into Spring Training, no one was expecting any of those 8 to make a significant contribution to the Nats in 2015, and most of them were considered long shots to make the roster at all before September, if at all in 2015. Realize that the Division sucks, but incredible how depleted this team is. Add in the fact that SS has been injured and largely ineffective and the Fister and Gio have been mediocre, hard to believe that this team has the 3rd best record in the NL.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:24 PM

      In winning %, we’re not 3d but tied for 4th with Cubbies. But still.

  6. NatsLady - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:11 PM

    Nats have 17 DL trips, which is the third most in MLB, according to this article (which is basically trashing the Mets for whining about injuries).

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:37 PM

      Really appreciate the links you share, NL! Keep ’em coming.

      • NatsLady - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:46 PM

        My pleasure. Omigoodness, the bearded Maddon. (Am sort of watching the Cubs-Sox game but not very interested since no one from either team is on my Draft Kings today.)

  7. rlndtln - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    Maybe JZIM will be back to pitch Saturday or Sunday.He will have 4 days off to be with his family.

  8. kirbs3256 - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    I’m hoping Max pitches Sunday. I don’t really want him in the all star game. He will use 200% energy and I judt want him to chill.

    What’s with all that Barrett hate?????

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      For some folks, the roster apparently isn’t thin enough.

    • philipd763 - Jul 10, 2015 at 5:28 PM

      Because Barrett is awful! He has never recovered from his blowup in the playoffs last season.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2015 at 6:06 PM

        Correction: Some fans never recovered. Barrett is actually doing ok, as the stats posted above indicate.

  9. DaveB - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    So … right now it looks like the Nats have 9 relievers on their active roster (assuming you include Roark as a reliever). I guess this is just a quirk of the fact that they haven’t needed to replace Stras or JZ with a starter given the All-Star break. Makes me wonder, however, if perhaps the Nats will let Scherzer pitch the All-Star game after all (at least if he is the starter). Roark (plus as many relievers as needed) lined up to take his place on Sunday.

  10. Andrew Cain - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:37 PM

    Can someone remind us of the rules for optioning players?

    Do these injury-replacement stints count against how many times Difo can be sent back down?


    • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2015 at 4:59 PM

      You only burn one option per year, no matter how many times you are called up and sent back. So

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2015 at 5:00 PM

        So … it doesn’t really matter how many times.

      • Andrew Cain - Jul 10, 2015 at 5:10 PM

        Gotcha. Thanks.





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