Jonathan Newton/TWP

Denard Span returned to the Nationals lineup on Tuesday after missing one game with bruised right foot. Span had never fouled a ball off his foot in his baseball career until this season. Now he has done it three times in the matter of two and a half months, the most recent on Sunday in Cleveland which caused him to miss Monday’s game in Philadelphia.

Span, who has played in 64 of the Nationals’ 69 games, said his foot felt better Tuesday, enough to play and run. After fouling a ball of his foot on Sunday, despite wearing a protector on his foot, the center fielder struggled even to put on his right shoe as he got dressed after the game.

“Some of the swelling went down and some of the pain went away,” he said before taking any batting practice and testing the injury during warm-ups. “I can play. If we play [Tuesday], I’m definitely going to play.”

Span has attributed the string of bruises and nicks to his front foot to a hitch in his swing and not feeling comfortable at the plate. Manager Davey Johnson, however, has said there is nothing wrong with Span’s swing. His timing is simply off. Johnson said Span is letting the ball get too deep into this swing and, as a result, fouling the ball down.

“As long as I don’t foul another pitch off my foot I’ll be fine,” Span said, smiling.