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Span sits to rest sore back; other Nats injury notes

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Span sits to rest sore back; other Nats injury notes

Denard Span returned off the disabled list on Tuesday to give the Nationals' their first complete lineup of the season. Then, on Wednesday night he landed two doubles and scored a run.

But on Thursday, Span was out of the lineup after feeling soreness in his back, the same area of the injury that kept him out for over six weeks.

"Yesterday coming in he was a little bit tight, but he loosened up fine," Matt Williams said. "Early morning conversation today, getting out of bed he was a little stiff. Just gotta make sure that we take care of that."

Williams added that it was not a spasm that Span felt on Thursday. Back spasms were originally what cropped up in his lower back and caused him to miss time off and on in June.

There were no spasms, yet Span felt enough discomfort to miss a game. Michael Taylor replaced him in center field like he has so many times this season.

"It's going to be that way probably until the end of the year where he'll get sore every once in a while," Williams explained. "But the good part about it is that Mikey's been playing and he's been really productive for us. He inserts, albeit at the other end of the lineup, but he inserts well."

Williams did say Span would be available off the bench, if needed.

Span, 31, has been very productive whenever he has been on the field this season. He is batting .301/.365/.431 with five homers, 38 runs, 17 doubles and 11 steals in 61 total games.

OTHER INJURY NOTES

-- Reliever David Carpenter, who is rehabbing right shoulder inflammation, felt soreness after his last outing on Aug. 23 with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. He is now back with the Nationals in Washington to resume a throwing program.

-- Outfielder Reed Johnson, who is technically coming back from left foot surgery, was recently shut down after feeling discomfort in his side. An MRI discovered a cracked rib, which will have him sidelined for at least four to six weeks. That means his season is in all likelihood over.

-- Outfielder Nate McLouth continues to rehab from right shoulder surgery, but is making little progress towards returning.

"He's in Florida. He's going back and forth and he's doing some rehab at home, too. But he's had setbacks and just hasn't been able to get over that hump yet. He's doing everything that he can do in order to get that shoulder back to where he wants it be," Williams said.

"It's difficult. Being a major part of the plan for the last two years and not being able to get out there is difficult for anybody. He also had a major surgery, so there's progress made and there's a couple of steps back. We want him to make sure that he gets healthy and that he's ready to play again."

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Kendrick carted off with injury in Nats 4-1 loss to Dodgers

Kendrick carted off with injury in Nats 4-1 loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON -- Ross Stripling struck out a career-high nine in six innings, Max Muncy drove in two runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 in the opener of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.

The Nationals suffered a potentially significant injury when Howie Kendrick went to the ground after catching Muncy's sacrifice fly to deep left in the eighth. Kendrick, who's hitting a team-leading .303, put no weight on his right leg and was taken off the field on a cart:

Stripling (1-1) struck out the side in the first inning and then fanned the final five batters he faced, getting Bryce Harper during each of those stretches, in the longest and best of his four starts this season. He allowed one run on four hits, walking none.

Stripling made 11 relief appearances, allowing one run in 15 1/3 innings, before moving into the Dodgers' rotation.

Joc Pederson and Logan Forsythe had two hits apiece for Los Angeles, which won its second straight after losing nine of its previous 10.

The Nationals lost for the first time since May 9. Washington had not played a full game since Sunday night in Arizona because of rain that has lingered over the Mid-Atlantic. One game against the Yankees was suspended in the sixth inning and another was postponed, and Friday's game against Los Angeles also was washed out.

Pederson led off the game with a triple off Tanner Roark (2-4) and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yasmani Grandal. Forsythe doubled in the second, breaking an 0-for-12 skid that stretched to April 14 and included a 26-game stint on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He singled in the fifth and scored on a grounder by Cody Bellinger.

Harper wore eyeglasses with clear plastic frames during his first at-bat, when he struck out swinging. He ditched the specs his second time up and drove in the Nationals' only run with a single to center.

Roark allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

J.T. Chargois worked the seventh, Josh Fields pitched the eighth and Kenley Jansen threw a perfect ninth for his seventh save in nine opportunities.

Muncy, who struck out looking his first two at-bats, drove in the Dodgers' third run with a double in the sixth. His deep flyball to left in the eighth scored Justin Turner.

OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Well-rested Nationals welcome the slumping Dodgers for a weekend series

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USA TODAY Sports

Well-rested Nationals welcome the slumping Dodgers for a weekend series

WASHINGTON -- The Los Angeles Dodgers travel to Washington on Friday to take on a Nationals team that was rolling before rain idled them for most of the week.

On Thursday, the Dodgers snapped a six-game losing streak with one of their best games of the season.

Justin Turner, who returned from the disabled list this week, tied a career high with five RBIs and Kenta Maeda threw eight scoreless innings in a 7-0 win over the Miami Marlins. Turner provided a three-run double in the third inning and a two-run double in the fourth.

"As a collective group, we've done a good job of getting people on base -- we just haven't had that timely hit," Matt Kemp told the Los Angeles Times. "We got one of our best hitters back, and he had a big day for us today. I think it relaxed everybody, and you saw some good things today."

Building on that momentum won't be easy on Friday as the Dodgers (17-26) face a well-rested Nationals team that has won 13 of its last 15 games and starter Max Scherzer (7-1, 1.69).

Washington (24-18) has played 5 1/2 innings of baseball since Monday due to rain in the Washington area.

Scherzer had been slated to pitch against the Yankees Wednesday on normal rest. The two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Scherzer is making a strong case for No. 3.

He has won six straight decisions and hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any start. Scherzer leads the majors with 14 strikeouts per nine innings and has held opponents to a .116 batting average in four home starts this season.

"I think what separates Max is his competitiveness, the fire and energy that he pitches with, almost imposing his will at times on hitters. He's just in attack mode all the time," closer Sean Doolittle told the Washington Post.

Ross Stripling (0-1, 2.20 ERA), filling the injured Clayton Kershaw's spot in the rotation, pitches for Los Angeles. He is 0-1 lifetime in two games against Washington with a 21.60 ERA.

In his last start, he left with the lead after allowing two runs on six hits, with a career-high seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings of a loss to the Reds. Stripling batted in the fifth and was lifted in the sixth, only to watch the bullpen lose the lead in that inning.

"This was the first time Ross pitched into the sixth inning," manager Dave Roberts told mlb.com. "Up to 79 pitches, more than he's ever thrown, got a guy (JT Chargois) you're comfortable getting (Eugenio) Suarez out and it just didn't work out. We just didn't get it done."

Washington's light week was a gift for the back of the Nationals bullpen, including Sammy Solis, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler and closer Doolittle, all of whom are on pace for career highs in appearances.

"Take 'em all," Kintzler told the Washington Post regarding the days off. "We need 'em."

Somebody who will be getting more days off than they want is catcher Matt Wieters, who had surgery Wednesday to repair his left hamstring, a procedure that could keep him out at least until the latter part of the season.

Backup Pedro Severino is hitting .274 with a .386 on-base percentage.

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