Span plays outfield in Minor League game

After first action since abdominal surgery, Nats CF will soon advance to batting

Span plays outfield in Minor League game

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span played three innings of defense only in a Minor League game in Florida on Saturday, the first time he's been in a game since abdominal muscle surgery on March 9.

Nationals manager Matt Williams said they received a good report on Span's actions, and that he did not bat. They're just bringing him along carefully, and the center fielder was glad to get out on the field.

"Just getting his legs underneath him," Williams said after his team's 4-3 exhibition loss to the Yankees on Saturday. "He'll progress into the batting in the game. But today was an opportunity for him to get out there and play some outfield."

Span had surgery to repair his rectus abdominis muscle, and the original prognosis was the Nationals might not get him back until May.

Williams said he thinks Span is ready to start playing in some games and might be ahead of schedule in his recovery from the surgery. He will begin the season on the disabled list.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.