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Nats planning to activate Span off DL on Tuesday

Aug 24, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

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The Nationals are planning to activate Denard Span off the disabled list in time for Tuesday’s series opener against the Padres, a move that could give the club a full, healthy starting lineup for the first time this season.

The decision to bring Span off the DL isn’t official yet because team officials are still contemplating a corresponding roster move, but a club source said the veteran center fielder made it through his minor-league rehab stint with no issues and is ready to rejoin the big-league lineup.

Span has appeared in only 59 games this season, opening the year on the DL following a pair of surgeries to repair abdominal tears and then spending the last seven weeks sidelined again due to a lingering lower back issue. When on the field, he has been among the club’s most productive players, hitting .304 with a .367 on-base percentage, .798 OPS and 11 stolen bases in 11 attempts.

Perhaps the most-telling stat about Span’s value to the Nationals: They own a 35-24 record when he plays this season but a 27-37 record when he doesn’t.

Span continued to play well throughout June and early July despite the back injury, which acted up on him enough to force him to be scratched from the Nationals’ lineup roughly once or twice a week. He and the team finally decided not to push it any further after he was forced out of a July 6 game early. He was sent to a back specialist in Dallas, who found no evidence of structural damage, but he was placed on the 15-day DL to give himself time to recover.

Span played in six rehab games with high-Class A Potomac, low-Class A Hagerstown and Class AA Harrisburg, going 7-for-17 with a homer, three walks and a stolen base. He played all nine innings in center field Saturday for Harrisburg, then returned to serve as DH on Sunday.

Between injuries to Span, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon, the Nationals have yet to field their entire projected Opening Day lineup once this season. That could change Tuesday night against the Padres if Span is activated as expected and if third baseman Yunel Escobar returns after missing two games with a minor neck injury.

  1. pchuck69 - Aug 24, 2015 at 6:22 PM

    >>The Nationals are planning to activate Denard Span off the disabled list in time for Tuesday’s series finale against the Padres,…

    No the finale but the premier!

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 24, 2015 at 6:37 PM

    “Perhaps the most-telling stat about Span’s value to the Nationals: They own a 35-24 record when he plays this season but a 27-37 record when he doesn’t.”

    I believe the Nats are a better team with Denard Span in the line-up and leading off, but let’s not overhype this little factoid.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 24, 2015 at 6:44 PM


    • npb99 - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:52 PM

      Referring back to the previous post, what’s the record with Span and Espi in the lineup?

    • therealjohnc - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:18 PM

      The trick is to make sure that you are in the lineup when Bryce Harper is in full Babe Ruth mode, and to not start when he’s merely very, very good.

      Remember that correlation =/= causation, boys and girls!

  3. zmunchkin - Aug 24, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    if Yunel is healthy I assume they would send Turner down. If not, then maybe Yunel goes on the 15 day DL – backdated to Saturday.

    • NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 6:59 PM

      Even without the neck, I don’t think Yunel is healthy. I think he’s banged up and his legs are tired and he would benefit from a break. He’s hitting .268/.358/.465 in August, although in his favor are four homers (only nine RBI, though) and he still walks more than he strikes out. Tough decision.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:21 PM

        How is an OPS of .823 (his second best of the season behind his .855 in June) not in Escobar’s favor?

  4. langleyclub - Aug 24, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    Agree that the Nats are better with Span, but it’s a little simplistic to compare the two records with and without Denard. Denard Span has nothing to do with the fact that Max Scherzer (and pretty much the rest of the startin staff) has pitched poorly over the time that Span has been hurt or that the Nats faced a string of the best pitchers in the NL. Glad that he is back.

    The logical move is to DL Fister, but I fear that won’t happen.

    • NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:02 PM

      Your point is well-taken BUT, it’s not true that Span being out has “nothing to do” with the pitchers pitching poorly. Having to use Clint Robinson and a slow Jayson Werth in LF has something to do with it. Now, Werth will probably continue to play, but he won’t play every day, and he won’t play every inning (if MW is smart about it) which means outfield defense will improve and pitching should improve.

  5. coop202 - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:08 PM

    Yes! But first, Ugh… Let’s go Phillies

    • virginiascopist - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:26 PM

      And on that note, let’s hear it for Ryan Howard (3-run homer in the bottom of the 1st off Jacob deGrom).

    • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:30 PM

      Go, Cheesesteakers, go.

  6. Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    Ryan Howard hits 3 run blast off DeGrom in bottom of first!

  7. Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    And DeGrom has already gotten at least three gift calls from Tom Hallion, most notably a called third strike against Domonic Brown on a curve that was a good four inches at least below the bottom of the zone.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:58 PM

      Eh, maybe Hallion wanted to showcase his chainsaw move. It is a good one, as I recall.

      • Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:13 PM

        Yeah, he really gave it a long pull on the ignition cord on that one.

  8. virginiascopist - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    And now Cameron Rupp hits a homer off of deGrom in the bottom of the 2nd. Go Phillies. Gee, baseball makes for strange bedfellows.

  9. NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 7:59 PM

    Some storm here. Is it heading to Philly?

    • virginiascopist - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:13 PM

      Hopefully not until the game is official. DeGrom is really getting knocked around.

  10. Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    And now Domonic Brown crushes a hanging slider from DeGrom for another 3 run dinger, Phillies 7-2.

  11. natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    So, from Gameday, looks like DeGrom is out?

  12. NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    After two walks, deGrom is out of the game. Gilmartin coming in. Philly announcers mention that could create a problem if Bartolo can’t make his start (wrist). They had been planning on a “bullpen” game in that case.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      I like.

      • coop202 - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:29 PM

        Unfortunately the Phillies pitcher is about as good as Adam’s morgan

  13. Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    DeGrom is done at 83 pitches after 2 2/3 innings, 8H, 7R, 6ER, 3BB, 3K, 3 HRs, ERA up to 2.29.

  14. natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:28 PM

    On a somewhat-related note, I will grudgingly admit that Utley writes a good letter:

    • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:29 PM

      Oops, meant to post the link, not the actual tweet-pic.

      • NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:32 PM

        WordPress is too smart. Ha ha.

    • ArVAFan - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:46 PM

      “Energy they brought on a daily basis.”

      So that’s what they’re calling booing these days?

      • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:51 PM

        I think maybe he means the batteries that they were throwing?


        “Energy they brought on a daily basis.”

        So that’s what they’re calling booing these days?

  15. NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Too bad on the day deGrom gets plastered the Fillies put up such a lousy pitcher.

    • stoatva - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:06 PM

      I didn’t know they had the other kind anymore. Unless Giles can go four or five.

  16. Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Now the Phillies rookie pitcher had better be done after giving up single, homer, homer, double to start the fourth.

    Grooving all his fastballs.

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:34 PM

      Because he hasn’t thrown a slider for a strike (or even a foul) this inning. Oh joy, he just struck out Gilmartin (Mets pitcher) on one.

      And now at last he’s done.

    • NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:04 PM

      This reliever ain’t any better.

  17. natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Dang. Come on, rain, and official game. Heh.

  18. coop202 - Aug 24, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    Well… It was a fun dream

  19. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:04 PM


  20. knoxvillenat - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:04 PM

    Mets now taking batting practice against Phillie pitching. Six home runs so far for the Mutts in 4 and 2/3 innings, Mutts leading 9-7 after 5.

  21. natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:05 PM

    Eh, I’m turning in.

  22. NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:06 PM

    We better win out, because the Mets are never gonna lose another game except the six against us.

  23. NatsLady - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:19 PM

    Now the relief pitcher gets a hit. What is WRONG with you, Phillies?

  24. stoatva - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:20 PM

    I see it but I don’t believe it.

  25. coop202 - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:24 PM

    Thought the mets luck had finally turned… Way overachieving still sigh…

    • Tyson - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:26 PM

      Mets fan here, and I just want to let you guys know that I’m not here to troll…. but I keep tabs on the blogs of our rivals and this comment made me jump in.

      This race is not over by any means- I watched this team blow a seven and a half game lead with 17 left, so until the Nats are mathematically eliminated I will not stop worrying.

      That said, some of you need to give the Mets a little respect. This is not luck, and at this point, you can’t call it over achieving – since mid-late July when Conforto got called up and Uribe, Johnson and Clippard came over, the Mets have had the best offense in the NL. Now with Cespedes and Wright back, they’re very deep. The bench is balanced, flexible and productive and they have a number of different lineups that they can field to meet different kinds of opponents. This team is actually good- are they 14 runs in 3 out of 4 games good? Of course not, but they deserve respect. I definitely respect the Nats and most of their fans (not a fan of the persecutory ideation I’ve seen regarding the umpiring -the umps have sucked for everyone and the short selling of the Mets, but the vast majority of the fans on this blog are knowledgeable, passionate and rational, and I respect that), and I wish you guys the best possible rest of the season possible so long as you stay in 2nd. You guys have had a few cracks as the NL East reps in the postseason lately- let our young stud muffin pitchers and deep-if-not-elite offense have a go. We’ll let you touch our rings if we get some… and then Bryce will know where his ring is at.

      Viva El beisbol


      • Section 222 - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:20 PM

        A really good post. Welcome and congrats. Of course you are right. Today’s shellacking of the Phillies was accomplished without the guy who has been perhaps the most consistent bat for the team all year long –Curtis Granderson. No doubt the team is now very deep. Every night their *bench* has one or two serious hitters on it — whether it’s Legares, Flores, Uribe, Johnson, Cuddyer. And now if David Wright is really back? Look out.

        I’d be interested in your views on the rotation and keeping the guys going all the way through the season versus shutting some of them down. Will there be a Strasburg-like controversy this year?

      • Tyson - Aug 25, 2015 at 1:04 AM

        222- (how do I reply to your post? There’s no reply button there?)

        Anyway, re: the rotation- no, there will be no Strassing in Queens this summer. Their approach is to limit Harvey and Syndergaard’s innings by skipping one start each (Harvey’s was skipped yesterday in Col. for Verrett, a promising 25 y.o. finesse guy who we lost in the Rule 5 draft this spring to Baltimore, who then cut him 2 days before the season, he then got claimed off waivers by Tex. and released after a few weeks and returned to the Mets) and then theoretically each have some more rest in September by implementing a 6 man rotation with Steven Matz coming back on 9/1 from rehabbing a torn lat. deGrom got up to 178 last year, so he’s in the clear. They’ll probably wait until Matz comes back to skip Noah. Alderson has said that there will be no leash if they make the playoffs- all systems will be go.

        I think a lot of this will have ton do with the Nats- if you guys can get consistent and put some pressure, then I don’t see they go to the 6 man in Sept. How do you keep running Colon out there who has pitched one great game for every 3 stinkers when you can run deGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard, Niese (whose been excellent since June) and Matz (who may be the best of them all before everything’s said and done) out there in a pennant race with a team like the Nats threatening to rip off 18 of 20 amd the memories of 07 and 08 in your head?

        Alternately, if the Nats fade or the Mets continue to play well and build a sizable lead, they’ll have more leeway.

        How the hell do you guys deal with Williams? Man is he terrible, and his demeanor just seems to suck the air out of a room…. from the outside looking in, I think he has to go. Just doesn’t seem like the right guy for this club. Obviously the biggest fault falls on the players, but if a Manger isn’t going to be a great tactician, he has to be a great motivator, and MW just doesn’t seem to be one. My biggest fear is the Nats hiring Wally Backman to manage, as I think he’s perfect for that team and I want him to take the Mets job (but Alderson will never hire him).

        Must be a crazy frustrating year for you guys, but your club can catch fire at any second. One thing that gives me solace is that I feel that if you guys are going to take this division, you’re going to have to TAKE it. The Mets are not going to give it away. The pitching is too good and while the offense is going to come back to earth, their baseline is much better than many baseball fans are giving them credit for. Should be a fun 5 weeks here.

        Cheers, 222. Labor Day series should be crazy!

      • coop202 - Aug 25, 2015 at 9:14 AM

        Of course – much respect for the Mets taking the east – we had it pretty handily for a bit and rather than closing it out we have fallen flat, and you guys have taken advantage for sure. However in watching a few mets games recently it reminds me of 2012 nats in a way – several players are clearly overachieving. Flores is way above is historical norm, degrom and Harvey are legit but Noah reminds me of when Ross Detwiler was looking like a legitimate starter. Duda and a few others seem to be outplaying their historical numbers. Hell a waiver add pitcher just pitched eight innings against Colorado in Colorado. There were also a flurry of games of late where the mets have been outhit and a once suspect bullpen turned into a lockdown unit (was really hoping machado would make up for the gifted three runs by schoop and the best defense in baseball in Baltimore).
        Mets have overachieved of late and props to them. They certainly are talented, and in reality hats off, but if you’ve been watching the nats games you’d see terribly underperforming pitching matched with babip awful luck. The combination is heartbreaking for a team that should have 4-5 more wins expected.

      • Tyson - Aug 25, 2015 at 11:16 AM

        Coop202- sorry, again, why no reply button on your comment?

        Anyway, your view of the Mets is distorted by not following them daily for years. Verrett wasn’t your typical waiver guy- he was a 3rd Rd pick from Baylor who was projected as a mid-rotation upside guy who ended up not being protected by the 40 man for this year’s Rule 5 draft due to his injury history and the crazy pitching depth that they have. Baltimore claimed him and he was their last cut before the season– the Rangers then claimed him and he pitched out of their pen before being DFA’d after only 4 starts and returned to the Mets per Rule 5 rules. Either of those teams would have loved to squirrel him away if they could- he pitched really well out of the pen for the Mets before Sunday, the only reason that he hasn’t been up all year is because he was the guy with options.

        Re: Wilmer- Sure, he has been out hitting his historical numbers, however, he’s only 23 y.o. and was long considered the best bat in the Mets system, which he’s been in since age 16. He’s been asked to play out of position and this is his first year in which he’s been given over 275 PAs and a guaranteed spot on the club. It’s very possible that he’s only now coming into his own, plus, he’s a career (granted, SSS) .306/.352/.529 hitter against LHP, and with the Mets depth, can now be platooned with Kelly Johnson to put him in the best possible situations t succeed. He’ll always rely on his average for his OBP as he doesn’t walk, but he’s always been projected to hit and it’s very possible that what we’ve seen lately is closer to what he is than his age 21 and 22 seasons in which he was a part time, out of position bench guy.

        Re: Noah- I mean, every scout and evaluator I’very seen projects him as a stud ace, as he’s only 22 and is far from just a fastball guy, but sure, it’s possible that he becomes a Detweiler. I mean, his peripherals are far better than Ross and he’s shown an incredibly advanced feel for his age, but you never know with pitchers. Still, I know of 29 other teams that would kill to have him right now….

        Re: Duda- He’s actually dropped off from last year and his numbers this year are the result of 2 insane runs. He’s in his prime, in his 2nd year of being “The Guy” at 1B on this team… I believe that he’s actually underachieving this year and will be far, far better over the next 2-4 years. But again, totally subjective, but I watch him every day, you’re looking at Stat lines.

        Re: the bullpen- definitely their weakest area, however, it’s been ravaged by injuries (Edgin, Blevins, Black, Parnell) and idiocy (Mejia, Mejia) and they now have Verrett there with Matz to shift there if they make the playoffs – you’ll see, it’s not as bad as you think.

        I totally agree that the Nats have been heartbreaking underachievers, but from where I sit, it does not look like merely bad luck.

        My question to you is: at what point in a season do you drop the under/over achiever labels and just say that this is what these teams are? If the Mets win the division as the result of being better than the Nats over a 162 game season, can you say that it was the result of fluke over and uner performance, or could it be, perish the thought, that the Mets are simply the better team? The Nats are far from the first loaded club not to gel into what they should be- the Mets from 06-08, the 2012 Marlins, the 2014 Blue Jays, the 2015 Dodgers, the 2000-2008 and 2010-2014 Yankees all say hi.

        Some guys on the Mets are overachieving, but some guys are coming into their own. Some guys on the Nats are underachieving, and some guys are regressing into what they’ll likely be for the rest of their careers.

      • coop202 - Aug 25, 2015 at 5:07 PM

        The reply system is awful, we just make do with it :). The truth is that neither of these teams are in the playoff chase in another division. We’re barely in it as it is. To me the real mets are the team from the first 100 games this season, and the real nationals are the team at 500 right now. The difference is they’ve produced before and there’s more of a reason to believe in division upside…

        I hate MW too for all of this.

  26. Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:25 PM

    Thanks for nuttin, Phillies.

  27. Steady Eddie - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:32 PM

    This Phillies manager (Sandberg still?) is as much a joke keep as his pitching staff. After the Mets go ahead 9-7, the first two batters in the bottom of the 5th get on, and he leaves in the terrible reliever to bat and look at two called strikes, and THEN gets the brilliant idea to pinch hit for him. After two called strikes on a guy who should have been in the showers already.

    A leading candidate for the most unassailably moronic mismanaging I’ve ever seen.

    • Section 222 - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:40 PM

      That is amazing.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 25, 2015 at 5:39 AM

      Not Sandberg. He quit some time ago.

  28. gzheng2015 - Aug 24, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    Another 4 runs in top 6th, Mets leading 13-7 now…

    • Casey - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:12 PM

      I keep thinking the Mets will cool down, but this high powered offense might be around for a little while. We’re screwed.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:27 PM

        Meh. The Yankees had a 12 game stretch where they scored 100 runs. They then scored four runs in their next six games. Offense is fun, but it comes and goes.

  29. kiawah51 - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    We might score 4 off the Phillies pitcher. Thats the difference. Mets aren’t gonna be caught because they knew their weakness was offense and made the right moves. Unlike Rizzo who was arrogant to think the injure players coming back who were hitting 220 before injury were all of a sudden going to hit 300. He blew it. Got a closer who we didn’t need that will only end up pitching a handful of meaningful games because we’ll hardly be ahead going forward. Oh the arrogance.

    • stoatva - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:40 PM

      Oh the arrogance.


      Oh, you mean Rizzo. Meh.

    • naterialguy - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:43 PM

      Kiawah I don’t understand people like you who think they are able to read a person’s motives and seem to relish a doomsday scenario as opposed to having an inherent comment to make.
      Everybody plays the fool sometimes. Some people just like to show it more than others.

  30. Section 222 - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:39 PM

    Oh man, just saw the highlight of Ryan Howard getting thrown out at first after thinking liner had been caught when it wasn’t. Hilarious!

    • stoatva - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:41 PM

      As frustrating as the game was, it was still pretty sweet to see Citizens Bank overrun by Metsholes.

      • naterialguy - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:46 PM

        So who do the Mets play next? (Don’t think we can get much help from the city of brotherly love)

      • stoatva - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:53 PM

        Red Sox, Phillies again, then Fish. Then us, on Labor Day. 😦

  31. Section 222 - Aug 24, 2015 at 10:52 PM

    The Mets hit 8 HRs tonight? 8? Flores (2), Lagares, Murphy, D’Arneaud, Cuddyer, Cespedes, and David Wright. Oh my goodness.

    Yes, I know it was against the Phillies, but, um, this is scary.

    Mets Magic Number (MMN) is now 34, with 38 games left.

  32. senators5 - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    My only question is: Why is Turner still here? He should be back in Syracuse where he can get ABs and improve his fielding. It makes no sense to have him here just to PH or PR….

    • Section 222 - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:22 PM

      The minor league season will be over in two weeks. Do you really think that amount of time getting ABs matters to his development? I don’t. If he can help the team, he should stay here. That said, if Esco is healthy and Span returns, he’s probably going back to AAA until September.

      • raleighnat - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:30 PM

        Made zero sense to start his clock. I have no idea the reasoning behind his promotion.

      • Section 222 - Aug 25, 2015 at 12:00 AM

        You’re kidding right? Start what clock? If they leave him down for two more weeks next April, his FA clock will be at the same point. Rizzo won’t mess that up, just like he didn’t mess it up with Bryce. Do you really think four years from now we’re going to regret not being able to send Trea Turner to the minors without putting him through waivers? Come on. His minor league option years are meaningless. He’s not TyMo or Ross Detwiler.

  33. raleighnat - Aug 24, 2015 at 11:33 PM

    I’ll keep pulling the boys on but it ain’t looking good. The mets are for real and we may very well have squandered the season with the mets sweep and that wretched west coast stretch. Barring a miracle this will go down as one of the biggest fails by a team I pull for. And it comes down to the players…injuries and sub par performances with a few exceptions. This season feels like a major flop.

    • Section 222 - Aug 25, 2015 at 12:05 AM

      Have to agree with you here. This team no longer controls its own destiny. They need to get hot, AND hope the Mets falter. One might happen. Both seem unlikely. This next two weeks are big. Pick up a few games before the Mets come to town and it could be very interesting. But it’s an uphill battle for sure.

  34. Joe Seamhead - Aug 25, 2015 at 2:04 AM

    This site has had a lot of totally justified pessimism lately, yet remained very civil. I like it.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 25, 2015 at 5:43 AM

      +1 for civility and respect for the point of view of others.
      -1 for my cat sitting on the keyboard and making me have to retype everything (okay, okay, I’ll get your food now).

  35. natsfan1a - Aug 25, 2015 at 9:46 AM






As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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