The injury-ravaged Nationals received another pair of health scares today in a 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Twins. Reliever Tyler Clippard took a line drive off his left (non-throwing) hand, and center fielder Denard Span fouled a ball off the top of his right foot. Both received X-rays afterward, and both tests came back negative.
Clippard emerged with hand heavily wrapped, but he shook off notion that the bruise could hold him out of action. Span, though, could miss at least the first half of tomorrow’s doubleheader with the severe bruise on his foot.
“We’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Span said. “That’s the only thing you really can do.”
Span suffered a similar injury earlier this season in Pittsburgh, when he fouled a ball off the same part of his foot. He woke the morning then and fell to the ground when he tried to put pressure on his foot, but returned the following day.
In the 10th inning today, Span fouled off a pitch from Josh Roenicke, then rolled a two-out single through the right side of the infield, his third hit of the game against the team that traded him this winter. When Jayson Werth grounded out to shortstop, Span jogged gingerly to second and then limped to his position in center field.
“They wanted to take me out the game,” Span said. “There was no way I was going to come out, especially against the Twins. I just told them, ‘I’ll be alright. I’ll just keep moving it.’ That last inning, even when I was on base, if he hit a double I would have had a hard time scoring. I was trying my best. Going out for that last inning, I couldn’t take off on it and put full pressure on it the way I want to. I still wanted to stay in the game.”
The Nationals are already down one outfielder in Bryce Harper. Span’s biggest motivation to return tomorrow is the chance to face his former team.
“I do want to play, I can tell you that,” Span said. “I definitely want to play. This is a series I’ve been waiting for. I circled it on my calendar the first day [the Nationals] traded for me.”
Before the game, Span said he felt as if he had been traded all over again, owing to the awkwardness of seeing all his former teammates. He went 3 for 5 but struck out with two outs and a man on third base in the fifth inning.
“It was weird,” Span said. “I’m out there. I feel like I know what they’re going to do. I know their style of play. I know the way [Ron Gardenhire] manages. There were situations where I’m like, ‘I know they’re going to do this.’ … It felt weird coming up my first at-bat, having Joe [Mauer] talk to me. I wondered what it would be like, having a conversation playing against him.”
Span smacked a single up the middle in his first at-bat. When Span walked back into the box for his next plate appearance, Maurer told him, “Same old Span.”
>> The Nationals will add first baseman Chris Marrero to their active roster for Sunday’s doubleheader, according to two people familiar with the situation. The Nationals can add a 26th man for the doubleheader, but Marrero is expected to remain with the team beyond Sunday, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.
Marrero is hitting .306/.355/.502. He played with the Nationals as a September call-up in 2011, but was derailed by a torn hamstring last year and impressed Nationals officials this spring with increased power.