Denard Span left Sunday afternoon's loss to the Chicago Cubs with back spasms, adding yet another ailment to a long list of them for the Nationals center fielder this season.
Span missed three games earlier in the week with a sore right knee. He also missed time in early May with soreness in his abdomen. That was after beginning the season on the disabled list while he recovered from core muscle surgery. He also had sports hernia surgery in the offseason.
Span and the Nationals believe this particular injury is minor, but are exercising caution. Span has never dealt with back spasms before in his career.
"I felt fine after I popped up to shortstop and came back, put my helmet in the rack, put my bat down -- calmly -- and sat down on the bench. And as soon as we got three outs, hopped up to go get my glove and I went to go stand up and it just locked up on me. Never happened to me before, so it definitely scared the heck out of me," he said.
The Nationals do not believe it is serious, but Span wants to wait and see until he feels in the coming days.
"I mean that's the initial diagnosis. I don't know, hopefully it feels better tomorrow when I wake up. That will be a little bit more peaceful for me. But it's still too early. I don't know how serious or really what's going on," he explained.
Span was 1-for-4 with a strikeout in the game before exited in the top of the eighth inning. Danny Espinosa took over in left field, while Michael Taylor moved to center. It was Espinosa's first ever appearance in the outfield.
Span said he will take muscle relaxers to try and loosen up his back. He is traveling to New York with the Nats on Sunday night on a train.
"Good thing we have a day off tomorrow. I guess I'm just going to communicate with the trainers tomorrow during the day off and let them know how I'm feeling."
It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
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Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.