Denard Span started Monday's game, but didn't play on Tuesday and isn't on Wednesday's lineup card. The Nats have three more games before the All Star Break this weekend, which Span has said he won't be playing in....
Denard Span going to Dallas tomorrow to see back specialist. Says he won't be playing this weekend but no DL move yet.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) July 8, 2015
Span has had a few instances over the past couple of months where he's had to miss a couple of days with back spasms. The club has indicated that they believe that the back spasms may be related to the core surgeries that Span had in the offseason. Based on the fact that the spasms keep coming back, it's becoming increasingly apparent that sitting for a day or two every few weeks isn't helping to correct the issue. It may be best at this point for Span to take a couple of weeks to rest it and see if that helps to solve the problem.
The All Star Break presents the perfect opportunity for the Nats to give Span a few weeks off without losing Span for a full two weeks worth of game action. As stated above, Span already missed Tuesday's game and is out of today's lineup. He's also indicated that he won't play this weekend. They can backdate a trip to the disabled list to July 7, which means he'd be eligible to return from the disabled list on July 23. This would cost him the first six games of the second half, but it would at least give him time to rest and the training staff (gulp) a little more of an opportunity to see if they can figure out what the problem is.
With Yunel Escobar also day to day right now, the Nats (already depleted) bench is already playing a man short. Placing Span on the disabled list would also give the Nats a chance to dig into their minor league system and recall an extra hitter off the bench. The options aren't all that enticing, but having a kid like Wilmer Difo come back up for a bit would give them a better third option off the bench than having Doug Fister or Max Scherzer pinch hit.
The Nats' current opponents, the Cincinnati Reds, showed exactly how you don't handle a player who is week to week earlier this season. Their starting catcher, Devin Mesoraco, has been dealing with a hip problem all season long. They listed him as day to day..... for six weeks. Mesoraco didn't play from April 12 until April 21, when he pinch hit. He continued to pinch hit on occasion, getting a handful of starts as the designated hitter when the Reds played in AL parks, until the Reds finally placed him on the disabled list with the injury on May 26. That's an awfully long time to hamstring your roster and shorten your bench. Let's learn from our opponent's mistakes.
If Span's injury isn't something that a day or two off is going to truly heal, it's time to just bite the bullet and put him on the disabled list. They can do that now and miss ten games worth of his services because of the advantage the All Star Break provides.... or they can cross their fingers and hope that a few days without having him available even off the bench will help to solve the problem. It's time to exercise some caution here.