Jayson Werth is back in the majors with the Nationals and he's gone 2 for 15 with a double and a walk thus far since he came off the Disabled List. Denard Span is back on the field in the minors, for the Hagerstown Suns last night, on a rehab assignment. Nationals' skipper Matt Williams updated reporters on the center fielder and leadoff man's progress after last night's win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the nation's capital.
"Seven innings, 3 for 4, two singles and a homer," Williams said. "Ran balls down, feels great afterwards. So we'll see how he wakes up and get him back out there tomorrow."
Span could be back in the majors sooner than later, and when he returns the Nats will have two of the three hitters who were atop the lineup for most of the 2014 campaign. So when will the last of the top three return? Williams provided an update on Anthony Rendon when he spoke to MLB Network Radio hosts Scott Braun and Todd Hollandsworth this morning.
Rendon suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee back on March 9th in a Grapefruit League game. He's finally back to work after waiting for the pain to subside.
"He's doing everything that you could possibly do to get ready for a season which is a real improvement for him," Williams said.
"So he's taking ground balls, he's running, he's hitting, he's doing all of those things. And once he can get to a point where he's able to do that full-go, without any issues and not even thinking about it then we can send him out on a rehab assignment. So I think he's making great progress."
"That sprain of the MCL takes a while for it to just calm down," Williams continued. "So now I think we're there. I think it's calmed down enough to where he can start doing some work and get ready to come back and play for us. So that's a positive for us because we just didn't know how long that injury would take, but he's on the road to recovery for sure."
Still no timetable on a return, but sort-of good news, right?
Now on to some lunchtime reading... Links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:
• NATS BEAT: Nats beat Phillies; Escobar stories; Span updates + more
Nats 5-2 over Phillies and Hamels:
• "Both players scored standing up, avoiding a near-pileup at home, and the Nationals’ one-run lead had grown to three." - "Nationals make most of opportunities, beat Cole Hamels and Phillies, 5-2" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "The Nats broke it open in the bottom of the sixth to knock Hamels out of the game, as Ryan Zimmerman roped a two-RBI double to put the home team up 5-2." - "Nats 5, Phillies 2: Fister bests Hamels in win" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "Speed was the theme of this affair that lasted just 2 hours, 16 minutes." - "Nationals Pastime: Fister, Harper and Werth featured in fast and furious 5-2 win" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
Matt Williams: "I don't put a lot of stock into any defensive struggle with Desi. Sooner or later he's going to come out of it."— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) April 17, 2015
• "Scherzer has given up just one earned run in 13 2/3 innings this season. He's also struck out 16..." - "Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals - April 17, 2015" - Jeff Seidel, MLB.com Preview
• "It was a big game for the bullpen on a day they lost one of their mainstays in right-hander Craig Stammen." - "Bullpen finishes win over Phillies, looks back at importance of Stammen" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Despite the injuries and the ugly early season numbers, anyone who has watched the Nationals in recent years could tell you it was only a matter of time before their offense broke out." - "Nats’ offense continues to roll in win vs. Phillies" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "'The pitching has been there the whole time, guys are starting to swing it, so it'll be fun to see what happens going forward.'" - Michael Taylor - "Homers back Fister as Nats top Hamels in series opener" - Damian Cristodero and Jeff Seidel, nationals.com
Werth on Harper almost catching him running bases: 'I was surprised to see Bryce right behind me. But, hey, run ‘til they tag you.' #Nats— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) April 17, 2015
Spanning the Globe:
• "Span went 3 for 4, including two singles and a solo home run. He ran at full speed on the bases, too." - "Denard Span rehabbing, inching closer to Nationals return (UPDATED)" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "The Nationals on Thursday gave their most optimistic report to date concerning the rehab of Denard Span, who appears close to a return." - "Williams: Span feeling no pain, playing on instinct" - Damian Cristodero, nationals.com
• "Sitting at his locker after the Nationals’ 5-2 win Thursday night, Jayson Werth was the kind of calm that has not been pervasive outside of the Nationals’ clubhouse during a bumpy start." - "Denard Span close to return to Washington Nationals" - Todd Dybas, Washington Times
Max Scherzer used his new cutter vs. the Phillies last weekend. He faces them again today. Their early review of it: http://t.co/rY2qpSYYiB— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) April 17, 2015
Michael Taylor Time:
• "Backpedaling as he tried to chase down a liner from Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, Taylor was primed to make a tough play look routine..." - "Taylor showing Nats glimpses of his potential" - Daniel Shiferaw, Nats Insider
• "Surprisingly, Taylor's biggest issue has been defensively in center field. Fenway Park was an adventure for him." - "Nationals Pastime: Up-and-down start for Michael A. Taylor" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
These local ballplayers left last night's game with some sweet souvenirs! pic.twitter.com/ujOpQZ1Nex— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 17, 2015
• "'I'm not even going to tell you what happened, because it will sound like an excuse,' Taylor said. 'I just dropped it. It can't happen.'" - "Taylor: Homer doesn't totally ease sting of error" - Damian Cristodero, nationals.com
Michael A. Taylor is surging at the plate but having some defensive struggles. WATCH him discuss the highs and low: https://t.co/8fUUvZgb9X— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) April 17, 2015
• "'[Thursday], I felt like I played with the Nationals that I thought all along I’d play with,' he said in Spanish after the game." - "Yunel Escobar adjusting, contributing to the Nationals" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: [ed. note - "Sorry, this one is light today. Not much national coverage out there."]
• "As baseball fans descend upon Nationals Park this season, they will pass through a neighborhood that’s changed, even since the last home game in October." - "Development booming around Nationals Park" - Tim Curtis, Fredericksburg.com
• "The Dodgers have blown just one save so far. Two teams, the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals, have already blown four." - "Two young relievers have kept Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen afloat" - Mark Saxon, Los Angeles - Dodgers Report - ESPN
• "It’s week 2 of the MLB season and my friends are already starting to panic about their beloved Washington Nationals." - "When can fans truly begin panicking about their team’s season?" - Chris Chase, For The Win
• "The Phillies fell to 3-7 with Thursday night’s 5-2 loss to the Nationals in the series opener in Washington, extending their losing streak to five games." - "Don’t Fret About Phillies’ RISP Woes" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley
• "Howard has been putting in the work for months. The results haven't showed on the field through the first 2 weeks of the regular season." - "Batting seventh for the Phillies, Ryan Howard" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News
NATS MINORS: Span + Giolito and Solis updates
• Class-A Hagerstown: "Span, who is the Washington Nationals starting center fielder, was making a rehab start with the Suns. He finished the night with three hits in four at-bats including a solo homer in the seventh." - "Suns rally past BlueClaws in home opener" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News
• High-A Potomac: "RHP Brian Rauh (1-0, 0.84) toed the rubber for his second start of the season and second start against Lynchburg since the season began." - "P-Nats Ninth Inning Three Run Rally Leads to Ten Inning Victory Over Lynchburg" - Potomac Nationals News
Potomac (4-4) 5, Lynchburg (2-6) 4 (10), WP: D. Napoli (1-0), LP: B. Suarez (1-1) S: None, HR: LYN- B. Zimmer (2)— Potomac Nationals (@PNats42) April 17, 2015
• Double-A Harrisburg: "The Harrisburg Senators allowed five runs from the sixth inning on as the Binghamton Mets distanced themselves in a 9-3 win over the Harrisburg Senators (3-5) Thursday night at NYSEG Stadium." - "Binghamton pulls away from Harrisburg" - Perry Mattern, Harrisburg Senators News
• "Left-hander Sammy Solis is reporting to Double-A Harrisburg, according to Nationals assistant general manager and vice president of player development and pro scouting Doug Harris." - "Solis moves to Harrisburg, Giolito and Lopez each go three innings in Florida" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Solis moves to Harrisburg, Giolito and Lopez each go three innings in Florida http://t.co/FDJA2jsiUN— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) April 17, 2015
• Triple-A Syracuse: "All nine batters in the Chiefs' lineup reached base, with seven scoring a run and seven driving in a run, leading to Syracuse's largest win in a home opener in 30 years." - "Taylor Hill, Ian Stewart lead Syracuse Chiefs past Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRider" - Syracuse Chiefs News
NL EAST UPDATES: Howard hits 7th; Alderson's work; Stanton's record; Braves' Peraza
• Phillies: "Howard's lack of production this season and since 2012 led manager Ryne Sandberg to move him down to seventh in the batting order Thursday night." - "Prolonged decline will affect Howard's legacy, and that's a shame" - Corey Seidman, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
• Mets: "Late Thursday night, after another big Mets' win, word came down that Danny Muno was getting the call to the bigs." - "First Alderson draftee gets call to Mets" - Bill Price, NY Daily News
• Marlins: "Twice, the Marlins built early leads, most notably on Giancarlo Stanton's record-setting two-run homer in the first." - "Stanton sets record, but Marlins fall to Mets" - Anthony DiComo and Joe Frisaro, marlins.com
• Braves: "The Braves did not flinch upon learning a Yankees scout was recently sent to watch Jose Peraza, Atlanta's top prospect, play for Triple-A Gwinnett." - "Coppolella: Braves have no interest in trading Peraza" - Mark Bowman, braves.com