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Nationals' Denard Span seeing specialist for back issue today

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Washington Nationals' center fielder Denard Span is seeing a specialist in Dallas, Texas today after over a month of dealing with a back issue that cropped up late in a June 7th game against the Chicago Cubs.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In the 21 games he's played since his back first locked up on him late in a June 7th game against the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals' leadoff man and center fielder Denard Span has posted a .329/.430/.380 line in 93 plate appearances, with four doubles, 13 walks, nine strikeouts and eight stolen bases.

The success he enjoyed over that stretch is at least part of the reason the Nats' outfielder continued playing in spite of the fact that his back kept acting up on him, forcing him from the lineup on occasion.

"I've been feeling pretty good," Span said. "Been active on the bases, stealing bases, so that is why I kept playing..." -Denard Span on dealing with back issues

"I'm trying to -- thinking, 'This is what it might be. This is what it might be,'" Span explained before Wednesday's game was rained out.

"I was doing a bunch of exercises and I was responding fairly well and I still maintained my play on the field, so we didn't think that it was anything serious, but like I said, it's got to the point now that I've got to figure out what's going on. This is bigger than today. Hopefully I want to play another ten years, so I've got to figure this out."

"I've been feeling pretty good," Span said. "Been active on the bases, stealing bases, so that is why I kept playing, because even though my back was locking up on me, a couple days after that, my body felt brand new. So I thought that everything was okay, but this has happened too frequently, so I've got to figure out what's going on."

Span, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday, will see a back specialist in Dallas, Texas today.

"Denard has had those spasms fairly consistently, every week or so... so we're going to send him to a specialist and get his take on it and then create a plan for him..." -Mike Rizzo on Denard Span's back issues

"Denard has had those spasms fairly consistently, every week or so" Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Wednesday afternoon.

"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."

"Definitely not helping the team by doing what I've been doing for the last three or four weeks," Span said. "Missing games here and there, playing four games and -- so yeah, definitely I've been putting the team in a bad spot."

Span's is, of course, just one of many Nationals dealing with an injury right now with Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Aaron Barrett and Jayson Werth all on the DL in various stages of rehab.

"The good thing is that we have guys that are capable and can play at this level and produce and stem the tide until our regulars do return," Matt Williams said before the series finale with the Cincinnati Reds was rained out.

"It's a little bit of a unique situation thus far, because our regulars been out a while and when they have played, they've played injured, so it's been unique in that regard.

"But it's important for those guys, if they have that opportunity to look at it as just that, as a chance for them to show and they've all done that."

"Like I've said before," Rizzo told Paulsen and Rouhier, "Nobody cares that the Nationals are all beat up and they're without four or five of their everyday players, we've just got to trudge on and win baseball games, that's what it's all about.

"That's why you build depth in the offseason, you put people on the 25-Man and the 40-Man roster that can help you because you're going to need a bunch of them."