- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2015

The Washington Nationals watched two of their best hitters leave Monday’s 3-2 loss against the Cincinnati Reds.

Denard Span left the game with back spasms after two innings, while Yunel Escobar was dealing with left hamstring tightness, according to manager Matt Williams. Neither player spoke to reporters after the game.

Williams said that it’s too early to speculate the severity of either player’s injury. He also refused to acknowledge that Washington has suffered more setbacks than any other major league club.

However, it’s hard to imagine that frustration isn’t building for the Nationals’ skipper, especially as it pertains to managing Span’s lingering knee and back issues.

“We’ve changed programs. He’s strengthening. He’s stretching,” Williams said after the game. “The trainers are doing everything that they can possibly do, so we’ll just continue to monitor. Continue to do what we’re doing. Some days it’s great. Some days it just pops up on him.”

Span had never experienced back spasms in his life until a month ago, when he went to take the field in the seventh inning of the Nationals’ 6-3 loss to the Cubs on June 7 and his back locked up on him. Span reported being terrified, not knowing what was happening to his body.

SEE ALSO: Max Scherzer to join Nationals teammate Bryce Harper at All-Star Game

Span has missed five games since, some due to discomfort and some for preventative measures. He rested as recently as Saturday, but it didn’t seem to do him any good on Monday, completing only two innings before Michael A. Taylor moved to center field from left and Matt den Dekker entered the game. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, Dan Uggla pinch-hit for Escobar.

Span’s injury history this season predates his first encounter with back spasms. His recovering core muscles kept him out of the first 12 games of the season. Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon were also on the disabled list to start the season, and have since returned there with different injuries.

Add Ryan Zimmerman, Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg to the list of players to spend time on the Nationals disabled list this season, and it’s hard to decide which is more impressive — that Williams has kept his sanity trying to piece together lineups as different players succumb to injuries, or that the Nationals have put together a record of 46-37 in the process.

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