The good news? Well there isn't really any "bad" news. Both Washington Post reporter James Wagner and MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported on Thursday night that sources with knowledge of the situation said 31-year-old Washington Nationals' center fielder and leadoff man Denard Span got good news from the back specialist he visited in Dallas, Texas on the Nats' day off.
The WaPost reporter's source, a "person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced anything publicly" said the "... the initial exam revealed nothing serious, but the Nationals and Span felt it was best to get a specialist’s diagnosis and suggested treatment," and, "although specifics were not immediately known, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday’s appointment was encouraging."
Span could, if he avoids going on the DL, skip this weekend's series in Baltimore and then rest during the break, giving him plenty of time to get over the back issue and back spasms which have kept him out of the lineup recently after it first became a problem late in a June 7th game in the nation's capital.
In case Span does end up on the DL, the WaPost Nationals beat writer reported, citing "another person familiar with the situation", Nats' prospect Wilmer Difo is in D.C. and available.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson, quoting "a baseball source familiar with the situation", wrote on Thursday night that though the Nationals haven't confirmed the news, Span, "... will likely go on the 15-day disabled list because of back spasms." His source, did, however, also say that the visit to the specialist, "went well."
Washington's GM Mike Rizzo, in an interview on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. on Wednesday, explained the point of Span going to see the specialist.
"Denard has had those spasms fairly consistently, every week or so," Rizzo said, "so we're going to send him to a specialist and get his take on it and then create a plan for him and hopefully in the next day or so he can perform for us and then get the All-Star Break off and rest that thing up."
Span told reporters he wasn't going to play in the three-game set against the Orioles before he visited the specialist.
Difo, 23, made his MLB debut when he was called up in May, going 1 for 6 in two stints in the majors so far this season.
On the year at High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, the infielder who was the top-rated infielder on Baseball America's list of the Nationals' Top 10 prospects before the Nats acquired Trea Turner from the San Diego Padres, has put up a combined .296/.343/.416 line with 19 doubles, a triple, three home runs and 14 stolen bases in 63 games and 271 plate appearances.