MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

DL decision on Escobar depends on MRI

Nats third baseman out with strained groin; Span could return Sunday

DL decision on Escobar depends on MRI

WASHINGTON -- According to Nationals manager Matt Williams, third baseman Yunel Escobar will have an MRI on his left groin, which he strained against the Phillies on Friday night. The Nats will then decide if Escobar needs to be placed on the disabled list.

After talking with Williams and athletic trainer Lee Kuntz, Escobar said Saturday morning that he didn't feel a need to go on the disabled list. He felt that he needed a day off and then could resume baseball activities.

"I feel a lot better," Escobar said.

"He said he feels OK. The [MRI] will tell us more and then we'll be able to make a decision," Williams said. "Right now, we are waiting for him to have that test."

Escobar suffered the groin strain in the fourth inning while running to first on a groundout to Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis. Escobar exited before the top of the fifth and was replaced by Dan Uggla, who entered the game at second base, while Danny Espinosa went from second to third base.

With Escobar out of the lineup on Saturday, Espinosa received the start at third base against the Phillies. The Nationals also have Tyler Moore as an emergency replacement at third. He was seen working with Williams at third base early Saturday morning. Moore has never played the position in professional baseball.

"It has been a long time [since Moore played third]. College, I think," Williams said. "But he is an infielder. He understands the process of catching it and throwing it. He looked fine. He looked smooth. I just want to get him out there just in case I have to put him in a game for whatever reason."

Meanwhile, center fielder Denard Span was at Nationals Park after playing three Minor League games during a rehab assignment. Span was a combined 5-for-12 [.417] with a homer and two RBIs for Double-A Harrisburg and Class A Hagerstown.

Span works out before game

Span was given Saturday off, and Williams said he could be activated off the disabled list as early as Sunday.

"Physically, I feel fine. I played two games in a row. I feel a little fatigued," Span said. "The only way that's going to get better is by playing in the games.

Span hasn't played a Major League game this season because of a torn abdominal muscle. At first, Span thought he would be back by mid-May, but he recovered quicker than he expected.

"I'm very surprised [I've come back this quickly]. I have to give glory to God," Span said. "When I first received the news, I thought I wouldn't be back until the middle of May and I might not be myself until June or July. … I still have some room to go as far as getting back to the way I move. But physically, I feel fine. I've been running full speed."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.