The Washington Nationals announced this morning that 31-year-old outfielder Denard Span underwent surgery to repair "a right core muscle injury." The Nats made the announcement via Twitter within the last hour. It's the second surgical procedure for Span this offseason after he had a sports hernia repaired this winter.
#Nats CF Denard Span underwent surgery this morning to repair a right core muscle injury.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 9, 2015
Span himself tweeted this morning that he was through with the procedure already:
Everything went well with the surgery. #godisgood— Denard Span (@thisisdspan) March 9, 2015
Nationals' manager Matt Williams talked earlier this Spring about how important Span was to the Nats' success last season. After a .302/.355/.416, 39 double, eight triple, five home run, 31 steal, +3.8 fWAR campaign, the Nationals picked up Span's $9M option for the 2015 season, bringing the center fielder and leadoff man back for the a third run in the nation's capital.
"I think he's valuable in every aspect of the game," Williams said. "He's one of the guys who makes our team go. Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, who throws well, who understands how to run the bases, who steals bases. Last year was a fantastic season offensively and defensively and he's a leader for us. He works every day, he plays every day and certainly makes it comfortable for our pitching staff to go ahead and challenge a guy and know that it will be caught if it's hit out there.
"He's a gamer. He's a baseball player. I was pleased with his season last year. I'm happy for him. Certainly happy for us, he was one of the reasons we got to where we got to."
Williams said then that Span was restricted early in camp and working his way back to full strength.
Span told MLB.com's Bill Ladson this morning that the latest setback will likely cause him to miss the start of the season:
Denard Span doubts he will start the regular season on time. #Nats #Nationals #MLB— William Ladson (@washingnats) March 9, 2015
Denard Span started having problems with his core 6 or 7 weeks after having sports hernia surgery. ..... #Nats #MLB #Nationals— William Ladson (@washingnats) March 9, 2015
Denard Span thought the pain would go away, but it didn't. #Nats #Nationals #MLB— William Ladson (@washingnats) March 9, 2015
Span is the second outfielder expected to start for the Nationals who is now questionable for Opening Day. Jayson Werth underwent surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder in January, and he is working to get back in time for the season opener.
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo talked this winter about potentially having Tyler Moore, Nate McLouth and Michael Taylor fill in if Werth wasn't ready for the start of the season.
Will the Nationals be forced to start the season with a Moore, Taylor, Bryce Harper outfield?