Denard Span underwent successful surgery on his left hip in New York on Tuesday morning. According to Nationals Manager Matt Williams, a labrum tear in Span’s hip was fixed and some bone was shaved down to clear space.
“He’ll recover for a few days and then get to the therapy part of it which starts almost immediately,” Williams said. “He went through it well. Procedure went well. He’s on the road to recovery now.”
Before surgery, Span said he expected a 4-6 month recovery. Span, who has been with the Nationals since 2013, is a free agent at season’s end and his Aug. 26 game is likely his last in a Washington uniform.
>>> Aaron Barrett will undergo surgery on his still-sore right elbow, Williams said. Barrett recently visited with well-known orthopedic surgeon James Andrews and the Nationals are eyeing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The operation is expected to be performed Thursday.
Barrett “hasn’t responded to any of the treatments that he hoped would make it better,” Williams said. Barrett received three opinions from doctors and recently decided on the preferred course of action.
Recovery often takes 10-12 months, and some even more, so Barrett could be out much, if not all, of the 2016 season.
>>> Stephen Strasburg played catch before Tuesday’s game to test out his the stiffness in his upper back. He held off on throwing on Monday so that medication could kick in. Strasburg had no issues with his throwing on Tuesday, Williams said, so the Nationals will re-evaluate him on Wednesday and consider a bullpen session after that.
But that all hinges on how Strasburg feels and the Nationals may exercise caution with him. If something doesn’t feel 100 percent, then it could affect his mechanics and then lead to further more serious injury. And with rosters expanding in September, Strasburg’s next start on Friday could be skipped.
As a backup option, the Nationals held Tanner Roark’s minor league start with Class AA Harrisburg on Monday night to only two innings. He could start on Friday in place of Strasburg on three day’s rest. Roark was originally being stretched out in the minor leagues so that he could potentially take Joe Ross’s spot but Strasburg’s ailment is first priority.
“We don’t know right now what Stephen is going to do,” Williams said. “That’s first on the agenda. So if that’s the case, certainly Doug [Fister] is available. Depending on off-day and how we want to line up after that, if there’s an opportunity for us to just skip Stephen and just him back on the rotation on his next turn following this one, we can do that, too. We’ll determine that as we go.”
If the Nationals use Roark to fill Strasburg’s spot this turn, Strasburg could still return next week to face the Mets in a critical three-game series.