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."