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Nationals reinstate Denard Span from DL, option Michael Taylor to Triple-A

Denard Span is back atop the lineup and penciled in as today's center fielder for the series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies. Span was reinstated from the DL this morning and Michael Taylor was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked in an MLB Network Radio interview this past week about the Washington Nationals' plans for center fielder  Michael Taylor once Denard Span returned from the DL.

"Well, it's an interesting and a difficult problem to have because Michael has done so well," Williams explained.

"It's an interesting and a difficult problem to have because Michael has done so well. But what we want to make sure that we do is further his development." -Matt Williams last week on tough decision w/ Michael Taylor

"But what we want to make sure that we do is further his development. So we'll have to make sure that if -- when Denard comes back -- if we can get him in games and keep him fresh and keep him going, then we'd certainly love to have him at this level. But we'll have to determine that.

"That's one of those questions, when you get your full complement of guys in there, your original thought is to make sure he keeps playing. So we'll adjust, we'll make those determinations when Denard comes back and see where we go from there."

Through 12 games, Taylor, 24, who made his MLB debut last August, put up a .271/.314/.500 line with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, three walks and 19 Ks in 51 plate appearances.

Defensively, Taylor experienced some issues in center field, but he filled in admirably after making the Opening Day lineup in Span's stead.

This morning, the Nationals officially reinstated Span from the Disabled List and then optioned Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse.

Taylor played a total of 12 games with the Nationals' top affiliate last season in a brief run after he was promoted from Double-A Harrisburg and before he was called up to the majors. He returned to Syracuse briefly in late August last summer, but came back up in September.

Span finished a rehab assignment this weekend and got through workouts at Nationals Park without any issues before he was officially reinstated.

After surgery for a sports hernia this winter, Span was forced to undergo another procedure to repair a right core muscle injury in early March which led to him starting the season on the DL.

In his second season in the nation's capital last year, the now-31-year-old "defensive ballhawk" of a center fielder and leadoff man put up a .302/.355/.416 line with 39 doubles, eight triples, five home runs and 31 stolen bases in 147 games and 668 plate appearances, over which he was worth +4.0 fWAR.

Span is back atop the Nationals' lineup today for the series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies.'s Bill Ladson tweeted both teams' lineups this morning: