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Nationals' Denard Span likely to sit tonight with sore abdominal muscle

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Nationals' outfielder Michael Taylor finished last night's game in center field and he'll likely start there again tonight if Denard Span does rest as expected. Span felt soreness around the abdomen where he underwent a surgical procedure in March.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' center fielder and leadoff man Denard Span was 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored against the New York Mets in Citi Field and 13 for 43 (.302/.340/.535) with four doubles, two home runs, three walks and four Ks in ten games and 47 plate appearances since coming off the DL when he was lifted from last night's game.

Michael Taylor took over for Span in center in the bottom of the sixth inning of what ended up an 8-2 win.

Nats' skipper Matt Williams discussed the decision to take the Nats' 30-year-old outfielder out of the game after the series opener.

Span underwent a procedure for a sports hernia in December and then missed the first 12 games of the season as he recovered from a right core muscle injury which also required surgery.

"He's okay, he's just sore," Williams said. "He's been doing a lot. He wants to play because he's swinging the bat so well and feeling so good, but he got a little sore, a little tight there in the middle of the game, so we decided to be cautions about it and get him out of there. Michael is here so he can take over."

"Abdominal?" Williams was asked.

"No, just general," he said. "Just tight legs. It was cool out there tonight. He's been doing a lot out there. He's hitting balls over the fence and getting five hits and rushing for 1,000 yards and you name it. He's doing it all, so had to get him out of there tonight."

When Span spoke to the press, however, he told reporters, after Williams' interview, that it was actually, "... soreness around where he had core muscle surgery on the left side of his abdomen," as Washington Post writer James Wagner reported.

"'Ran out there and started to feel it a little bit in my last at-bat,' Span said. '[Went] out there to play defense and my intuition told me, ‘You know what? I think I just need to go ahead and cash it in and see if I can get some treatment on it and get better [Friday].’"

Williams said Span would likely get a day off today in the second game of four with the Mets in New York.

"Probably," he said. "He'll probably get a day tomorrow. He needs to -- it's still very early for him, so if he gets tight we're going to be cautious with it and make sure that he's good to go for the following day."

Taylor will likely play center again if Span does sit. When the 24-year-old outfielder filled in at the start of the season, he posted a .271/.314/.500 line with three doubles, two home runs, three walks and 19 Ks in 51 PAs before he was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse upon Span's return.

In eight games with the Nationals' top affiliate before he was called back up, Taylor was 10 for 26 (.385/.452/.538) with a double, a home run, four walks and 10 Ks in 32 PAs.

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