- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

After leaving Monday’s game in the third inning with back spasms, Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span had an MRI exam on Tuesday morning and plans to see a back specialist Thursday.

Span said Tuesday night that he was still waiting for the specialist to read the MRI results, but he is anxious for answers. In his postgame press conference, Matt Williams said he had not yet seen the results.

“Right now, we’re waiting to see what the doctors want to do,” Span said. “Because I’ve tried to take it into my own hands and tried to play and toughened it out for the last month. It’s been the same old cycle. So I’m going to listen to my body.”

Span has dealt with back spasms sporadically for a month. His back first locked up on him during a game against the Chicago Cubs on June 7. He’s been given regular days off in the weeks since, but the issue has persisted.

“My body’s obviously telling me something. It’s locked up on me about four times now,” Span said. “It ain’t about being smart, because I’ve been dumb I think for the last month. So now I’ve got to finally be smart and listen to my body and find out what’s going on before I go any further. I don’t want to mess around with my back. That could be career-ending type injury, so I don’t want to mess around with my beck.”

Williams refused to blame the team’s many injuries for Monday’s loss. He did, however, acknowledge Tuesday that managing the back issues that have plagued Span since July 7 is no simple task.

“The fact that it’s recurring is perplexing because most days he’s fine,” Williams said. “You know, yesterday he was fine until the rain delay happened and then during the delay he went up to the training room, continued to stretch, had a trainer stretch him, stay hot, stay warm, and then it happened again, so the fact that it’s happening and continuing to happen is a concern.”

Coming up with a solution to Span’s problem has been somewhat of a guessing game that the Nationals training staff hasn’t been able to solve up until this point.

“I’ve tried to play through it for the last month,” Span said. “I don’t think I’m doing myself or the team any good. I’ve been playing every four days, getting a day off here and there. I can’t do that. I can’t do that to the team. It puts the team in a bad spot. So I’ve definitely toughed it out. Nobody can question how tough I am. Point blank. Period.”

Span wasn’t the only Nationals player to make a premature exit Monday. Yunel Escobar departed two innings after Span with tightness in his left hamstring, which was still nagging him Tuesday according to Williams

Williams said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, the team had not discussed putting either Span or Escobar on the 15-day disabled list. 

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