Span missed the first 12 games of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. Span initially thought he would be back by mid-May, but he recovered quicker than expected.
"I give glory to God. It has been tough times, but I stuck with it from the very first day post-surgery," said Span, 31. "I took the rehab process seriously. I didn't cut any corners. I did everything the doctors and trainers told me to do. It's a result of why I'm back right now."
In his first game back, Span went 1-for-5 and scored all the way from first base on a double from Ian Desmond.
"I was out of breath. I felt good just to get on my horses like that. It's been a while since I've been able to do that," Span said. "It's good to contribute today."
By having Span back, manager Matt Williams said things were "more normal today," with their leadoff man atop the lineup.
"Today was a little step back to where we have planned it all along," Williams said.
Just an all around great day. So happy to be back to doing what I love. Thanks to my teammates and of course the fans for the warm welcome
With Span back, the Nationals optioned Michael Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse even though he has been one of the top hitters on the club. He was tied with Wilson Ramos for the team lead in RBIs with eight.
Rizzo was impressed with what he saw from Taylor, who is ranked as the Nationals' second-best prospect. But the GM felt Taylor needed to continue his development by playing every day. Had he stayed with the Nationals, Taylor would have been lucky to get regular action two games a week.
"He is one of our future players and needs to play every day," Rizzo said. "We got to see Michael Taylor become a player for us right in front of our eyes. I thought he handled himself brilliantly with some youthful mistakes. The ability level is there. The usefulness of putting it to a Major League setting was there and he took to it very well."
Taylor thought he did all right in the big leagues, but acknowledged there is room for improvement.
"I made some mistakes that I know better of," Taylor said."It's been great [in the big leagues]. Anytime you can get to the level you want to play at, see some pitching, get some at-bats, it definitely helps."