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Injured Span says he won't play this weekend

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Injured Span says he won't play this weekend

Denard Span will travel to Dallas on Thursday to have his injured back examined by a specialist, and though he hasn’t been placed on the disabled list yet the Nationals center fielder said he won’t play at all in this weekend’s series in Baltimore.

“No chance,” Span said, before adding: “Definitely not helping the team by doing what I’ve been doing for the last 3-4 weeks. Missing games here and there, playing four games. Definitely, I’ve been putting the team in a bad spot.”

Span has now either been out of the Nationals’ lineup or removed mid-game with back spasms nine times in the last month. When he has been able to play, he’s actually been remarkably productive — he’s batting .329 with a .430 on-base percentage and eight stolen bases in 21 games since first getting hurt June 7 — but the veteran center fielder is concerned he’s risking serious injury if he tries to continue playing through it.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good, been active on the bases, stealing bases,” he said. “That is why I kept playing, because even though my back was locking up on me, a couple days after that my body felt brand new. So, I thought that everything was OK. But this has happened too frequently. I’ve got to figure out what’s going on.”

With Span saying he doesn’t expect to return until after the All-Star break, the Nationals could have simply placed him on the DL now. Manager Matt Williams, though, said the club doesn’t want to resort to that move until it knows the extent of the injury for certain.

“We want to find the root,” Williams said. “Everything is predicated on that root. It’s a perplexing one, because 4-5 days in a row, he’s great. And then all of the sudden, it crops up again. So we’ll get him to see a specialist and talk about it. He can read an MRI and say it’s X, but until he gets a chance to see him physically and examine him, he won’t be able to give us that information anyway. Hopefully at some point tomorrow we’ll have a better answer on it.”

Span’s season has been filled with physical ailments. He had surgery in December to repair a sports hernia, then another surgery in March to repair a tear on the other side of his abdomen. Now he wonders if compensation for those injuries may have led to his current back problems.

Whatever the case, he said the time has come for a definitive answer to what ails him.

“The last month, it was kind of hard to tell because I was bouncing back. It was a lot of professional guessing, I guess you could say. Thinking that this is what it might be, this is what it might be. I was doing a bunch of exercises, and I was responding fairly well. I was still maintaining my play on the field, so we didn’t think it was anything serious.

“But, like I said, it’s gotten to the point now where I’ve got to figure out what is going on. This is bigger than today. Hopefully, I want to play for another 10 years. So I’ve got to figure this out.”

Meanwhile, third baseman Yunel Escobar also sat out his second straight game Wednesday with tightness in his left hamstring. Williams, thoug

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Nationals bats get hot, but not enough vs. Blue Jays

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USA TODAY Sports

Nationals bats get hot, but not enough vs. Blue Jays

TORONTO — Washington Nationals reliever Ryan Madson had spent the past couple of weeks thinking about how long he'd gone between giving up home runs.

He won't have to wonder about it any more after the Toronto Blue Jays burned him with back-to-back blasts.

Teoscar Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte broke a tie with consecutive home runs in the eighth inning, Randal Grichuk added a pair of solo shots and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Washington Nationals 8-6 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez and Solarte connected off Madson (1-3) as the Blue Jays won their seventh consecutive home game. Hernandez hit his 12th home run while Solarte's was his team-leading 15th.

"Everybody knows Madson is one of the best relievers in the league," Hernandez said. "We made some adjustments, took good swings, and hit it hard."

Madson last gave up a home run on June 4, 2017, while pitching for Oakland against Washington, when Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run shot.

"I've been thinking about it a little bit because it seemed like it had been a while," Madson said of his year-plus streak. "It's kind of been on my mind for the last couple of weeks."

Madson, who allowed two home runs in all of 2017, blamed poor fastball command for his rough outing.

"I envisioned the inning going a lot different than that, obviously," he said. "The stuff was good but no command of it."

Hernandez went 3 for 4 and was hit by a pitch, reaching bases four times.

Grichuk went 3 for 3 with a bases-loaded walk. He homered off Tanner Roark in the second and went deep again off Shawn Kelley in the fifth. The homers were the sixth and seven of the season for Grichuk, five of which have come in June.

Kevin Pillar and Kendrys Morales each had two hits and an RBI for the Blue Jays, who are 6-2 in interleague play this season.

"Every game we win means a lot," Hernandez said. "We're just trying to get closer to the fight for first and second (wild card) spots."

Washington has lost five of six.

"You never want to get swept but I'm glad we swung the bats today," manager Dave Martinez said. "We haven't been swinging very well. I'll take our chances very time we score six runs."

Grichuk snapped a 5-5 tie with an RBI single off Justin Miller in the seventh but the Nationals answered in the eighth with Brian Goodwin's RBI single off Toronto's Tyler Clippard.

Ryan Tepera (4-2) pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for the win.

Slumping Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper started as the designated hitter and went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .217.

Harper, who has seven hits in his past 51 at bats, flied out to leave the bases loaded against Tepera in the eighth.

Neither starter lasted more than four innings. Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio allowed three runs and six hits while Roark allowed four runs and eight hits.

"I stunk today," Roark said.

THIEVERY

Toronto allowed a season-worst five stolen bases, four of them by Michael A. Taylor. The five steals matched Washington's season-high.

CATCH WITH DAD

On Father's Day, the sons and daughters of several Blue Jays tossed ceremonial first pitches to their dads, a group that included Solarte, Pillar, Morales, Aledmys Diaz and pitchers J.A Happ and John Axford.

FATHERHOOD

Gaviglio left before the game was over to fly home to Washington state after learning his wife had gone into labor with the couple's first child.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Matt Adams (left hand) was out of the lineup for a second straight day. Adams was hit by a pitch while attempting to bunt Friday. Daniel Muprhy made his second straight start at first.

Blue Jays: OF Steve Pearce (strained left oblique) went 2 for 2 with a walk in his second rehab game at Triple-A Buffalo. Pearce went 1 for 3 with a single and a walk Saturday.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington returns home Monday to face the New York Yankees. The teams will resume a May 15 game that was suspended with the score tied 3-3 in the middle of the sixth inning. Following the completion of that game, the Nationals and Yankees will make up a May 16 game that was postponed by rain. RHP Erick Fedde (0-1, 5.91) will start the nine-inning game. The Yankees have not named a starter.

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Nationals picking up where they left off in May vs. Yankees with 6th-inning start, makeup game

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Nationals picking up where they left off in May vs. Yankees with 6th-inning start, makeup game

WASHINGTON — On what was supposed to be a day off, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals will try on Monday to finish what they started in May.

The Yankees travel to Nationals Park to complete a game halted by rain on May 15 with the score tied 3-3 (5:05 p.m ET). The teams will then make up a game that was rained out on May 16 (7:05 p.m. ET).

Slumping Bryce Harper gets the game restarted when he leads off the bottom of the sixth inning.

New York's Sonny Gray (4-4, 4.98 ERA) opposes Erick Fedde (0-1, 5.91) 30 minutes after the completion of the suspended game.

Both teams are coming off a loss, though for the Yankees it's a blip and for the Nationals a trend.

Washington (37-31) completed a five-game trip through American League parks with an 8-6 loss at Toronto. The Nationals went 1-4 on the trip, ending with a sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays.

After failing to score in three of their previous five games, the Nationals produced 13 hits Sunday, only to see rare poor performances from a starter and a late-inning reliever.

Tanner Roark lasted just four innings and reliever Ryan Madson allowed two homers in the eighth inning, the first he has given up since June 4, 2017, when he was a member of the Oakland A's and Washington's Ryan Zimmerman homered.

"You never want to get swept, but I'm glad we swung the bats today," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told MASN.com. "We haven't been swinging very well. ... I'll take our chances every time we score six runs, I really will. I'm proud of them, they didn't give up, they fought the whole game."

Roark's short outing came at a particularly bad time. The Nationals used four relievers Sunday and the pitching staff is looking at 12 or more innings of work Monday.

"I stunk today," Roark told MASN.com. "Didn't really have much working for me."

Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo each collected two hits, but Harper went 0-for-5. He is now batting .163 (7-for-43) in June with four walks and 20 strikeouts.

The Yankees (46-21) dropped a 3-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday but have won 13 of their last 17. That includes splitting two games with the Nationals last week.

CC Sabathia was the hard-luck loser Sunday when the Yankees went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

"Always," Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters when asked if he expected three runs not to be enough against his team.

"And that's no disrespect ever to the opponent, it's just I always know that we're some traffic away from popping one," he added. "We had a little traffic and threw some hits out there, but we just couldn't get over the hump. They held us down and kept us at bay today."

The Yankees (.687) remained ahead of the 49-24 Red Sox (.671) in the AL East. New York leads the majors in runs per game, homers, homers per game, slugging percentage and OPS.

That's despite the continue struggles of Giancarlo Stanton (.243), who went 1-for-3 Sunday with a walk and two strikeouts.

"He's still working to be 'on time' and get started to his rhythm of hitting. ... That's what he's struggled with: consistently being on time. That's when you have a tendency to expand or be behind on the fastball or behind on the breaking ball," Boone told MLB.com.

However, Stanton is hitting .279 (34-for-122) with nine homers and 18 RBIs away from Yankee Stadium. And at Nationals Park, he has a career average of .289 with 20 homers and 41 RBIs in 54 games.

Gray is 0-0 with a 4.74 ERA in three starts against the Nationals. He gave up a three-run homer to rookie Juan Soto last Wednesday in a 5-4 loss to Washington when he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Fedde gave up four runs and six hits in five innings in a no-decision last week at Yankee Stadium.

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