Denard Span’s right knee is still sore and he will sit out Monday’s game to rest and receive treatment, Nationals Manager Matt Williams said. Span banged his knee in Chicago last week and been dealing with soreness in his patella tendon since. After he was removed from Sunday’s game with the knee soreness, Span said trainers had examined his knee and no structural damage was found.
“You keep playing on it and, if you’ve got a bruise in there or a little swelling in there, it doesn’t allow it to get out so,” Williams said. “So, giving him the day will allow that to happen and hopefully he’s back in there [Tuesday].”
Despite missing the first two weeks of the season following rehab from his second core muscle surgery, Span has been one of the Nationals’ best hitters. His .859 OPS is second on the team. Michael A. Taylor is starting in center field on Monday instead and Yunel Escobar hitting leadoff.
>>> Anthony Rendon had an early on-field workout at Nationals Park with coaches before rain hit Monday afternoon. He has played three games with Class AA Harrisburg so far over the weekend at Bowie, going 2 for 11 with one walk and three strikeouts so far.
Rendon, who is recovering from an oblique strain, is expected to return to Harrisburg on Tuesday and continue his rehab. He may need only two to three more rehab games before he can make his season debut.
“He still feels like [his timing is] a touch off,” Williams said. “But he’s only had a limited number of at-bats, so the more at-bats he has, he’s a fairly quick study in that regard because there aren’t a whole lot of moving parts and he’s short. It comes quickly for him but it’s important for him to get at-bats and keep going with it and so he’ll get more of those in the days to come.”
>>> Doug Fister and Sammy Solis both threw their first bullpen sessions since landing on the disabled list. Fister is recovering from a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm and Solis was hampered by left shoulder inflammation. Both bullpen sessions were short, about 20-25 pitches, Williams said, and both “felt good” after.
“That’s good progress,” Williams said. “We’ll take a day or two and do it again and see where he’s at there. But [Fister] felt good coming out of it today which is a good sign. … He’s got to continue to increase those bullpens until he’s ready to go live hitters or simulation and go from there.”
Fister has missed only two weeks, which is a relatively short amount of time. His return to the Nationals, however, will still take time.
“You have to make sure that he’s good to go with all of his pitches, that nothing gives him an issue,” Williams said. “So he’s got to accomplish that goal, get to a point where he can throw all of his pitches in the bullpen and all of his pitches in a simulated situation where he is putting a little more on it. Then get him into a game and increase his innings.”
>>> Stephen Strasburg, who landed on the disabled list on Saturday with neck and back issues, is scheduled to visit with Nationals doctors on Monday afternoon, Williams said.
The Nationals still need a starter for Wednesday’s game, Strasburg’s next turn in the rotation. Williams said that starter will depend on the bullpen’s workload the next few games. A.J. Cole, who is at Class AAA Syracuse, and Taylor Jordan, with the Nationals in the bullpen, are options to start the game and are both on the same schedule as Strasburg.