Nationals

Quick Links

Updated: Span returns to Nats; pitcher sent down to make room

denardspan072814.png

Updated: Span returns to Nats; pitcher sent down to make room

[Updated 5:35 p.m.]

With just 39 games remaining on their schedule and a 5 1/2-game deficit to make up in the NL East, the Nationals got a big boost to their chances on Tuesday with the activation of Denard Span from the disabled list.

Span returns after over six weeks on the DL while he recovered from back tightness. In order to clear room on their roster, the Nats sent right-hander Tanner Roark to Single-A Potomac.

Roark is expected to be back with the team on Sept. 1 when rosters expand, but he will now transition back to a starter. The hope is to have him take over for rookie Joe Ross, who is close to being shut down for the season because of his workload.

Span was placed on the DL on July 7 and just completed a minor league rehab assignment of six games. He went 7-for-17 with five runs, one homer, three walks and a steal in those outings. Span, 31, holds a .304 batting average and .367 OPS with five homers, 37 runs and 11 steals in 59 MLB games this season. 

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long road," Span said. "I'm just ready to get after it and to do all that I can do to help this team."

Span is batting leadoff for the Nats in what is the first time this season they have fielded their projected Opening Day lineup. When Span was healthy, others weren't. And when Span was out, several came back including Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, who all returned in late July.

Span is back, but he knows he isn't entirely in the clear. It was an arduous rehab and a process that at times involved setbacks in his recovery. He is hopeful he can hold up for the rest of this season.

"I don't have a crystal ball. I'm just going to go for it. It's time to go," he said. "I've worked hard. It's definitely been a lot of guts and glory for me this year. I've had to dig deep this last month and a half. I want to give D.C. everything I got and this organization and this fanbase everything that I have. One thing they won't be able to say after this is that 'Denard Span isn't tough.' I've been through a lot, but I'm happy to be here today."

It has been well-documented how much better the Nats have been this year with Span as opposed to when he is out of their lineup. With Span they are 35-24 and without him they are just 27-37.

Now they have their leadoff hitter back, and Span is confident the Nats can claw their way back into the playoffs.

"Why not? We've been here before. The two years I've been here, coming down the stretch this is where we've been. We came up short in 2013, but the year before we won the division and last year we won the division. So, if I had money — which I do — I would put money on us... but there's no betting in baseball," he said.

Quick Links

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

usatsi_10847206.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND 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.

Quick Links

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

screen_shot_2018-05-21_at_7.52.30_pm.png
@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND 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.