With Jayson Werth (wrist) and Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) already on the DL and Bryce Harper nursing a tight left hamstring, the news that Anthony Rendon was being placed on the DL yesterday with a left quadriceps strain was just the latest bad news for the Washington Nationals.
Then, before the start of the series opener in Citizens Bank Park, Denard Span was scratched with a recurrence of the back problems that cropped up over the last few weeks and have intermittently kept him out of the lineup. If that wasn't enough, Yunel Escobar took a fastball from Philadelphia Phillies' starter Aaron Harang on the left hand in his first inning at bat and was knocked out of what ended up a 5-2 win in spite of the fact that the Nats sent a Spring Training-ish lineup out against their NL East rivals.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams updated reporters on Escobar's status after last night's game.
"He's okay," Williams said, noting that Escobar was hit on the back of his left hand. "Preliminary X-rays were negative, so it's pretty swollen, so we'll see how he his tomorrow, but good news on the X-ray anyway."
Span's status? He was originally penciled in atop the Nationals' lineup, but then scratched an hour before the game.
"Denard is in there and comes in for our advance meeting and back locked up on him again," Williams said.
It's a concern for both the outfielder and the Nats, Williams said, because of the random nature of the problem.
"It's concerning, because we don't know -- he felt great getting off the bus last night," he explained.
"Of course, any time you play and have to sit for two and a half hours it's not easy given what he's gone through and he felt great last night, felt great coming here today, and then sat down and it locked up on him again. So we have to continue to make sure he's loose and stretched and strong and all of the things we need to so he'll continue that work."
Before the win over the Phillies, Williams provided updates on both Rendon and Harper.
"The MRI shows some pretty good changes in there," he said, referring to Rendon's quad, "so it's not something you want to mess with. If it gets to the point where it becomes worse than it is, then you lose him for an extended period, so the problem is that if he's going to play he's going to play, regardless of whether he's in the starting lineup or off the bench -- he hits a baseball and starts to go out of the box and it can -- that's where he got it in the first place anyway, so we've got to make sure that we shut him down for a little while and get it better."
The good news? After Rendon missed time early this season with an MCL sprain and then injured his oblique while rehabbing from the knee injury, he'll at least be able to keep swinging while he waits for the quad issue to subside.
"He took yesterday off," Williams said, "didn't do anything, wasn't going to play in the game yesterday anyway. He'll take today off and then get back at it. The good part of the injury is that he can continue to hit which can keep his swing, his timing, as much as possible, albeit just BP, but he can still continue to do that. He'll stay with us through the road trip and get some work done, so we hope it's just a couple weeks."
"Bryce did have an MRI," Williams told reporters. "It's pretty good. But the fact that he's tight, we don't want to take that chance. We're playing down anyway and we have for some time now, so we want to make sure that if we need to give him a couple days then we give him a couple days."