Span to seek answers from back specialist

Outfielder ruled himself out from playing this weekend in Baltimore

Span to seek answers from back specialist

WASHINGTON -- Anxious for answers, Denard Span will visit with a back specialist in Dallas on Thursday with hopes that the root of his lingering back issues can be determined once and for all.

Even if that's the case, Span removed all doubt Wednesday, saying there is "no chance" he would play before the All-Star break.

Since the back problem first arose in early June, somewhat of a routine has developed. He has played healthy for three or four days before experiencing nagging issues. By the sixth day, Span has been forced to miss a game or, as was the case Monday night, take himself out once it had started.

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

The back spasms are the latest ailment on a growing list of injuries that have pestered Span this year. He underwent surgery on March 9 to repair a core muscle injury causing him to miss most of Spring Training and Opening Day.

In May, Span injured his right knee after awkwardly slipping while tracking a fly ball at Wrigley Field. A few days later in Cincinnati, Span left a game in the eighth inning with increased soreness in the same knee.

Even with virtually no Spring Training and injuries along the way, when in the lineup, Span has been a pivotal part of the Nationals' success through the first half of the season. He's hitting .304, which is his highest mark since 2009 and the third-best on the Nationals. He leads the team with 11 stolen bases and his Gold Glove-caliber defense has not taken a hit.

"It's only been by the power of the man above," Span said. "He's given me the strength to this point to play to the best of the abilities that I have. I didn't have an offseason, I didn't get an opportunity to train and I didn't get a Spring Training. So, everything that you guys have been seeing has been a testament to hard work over my career."

Manager Matt Williams will wait for a definitive answer before deciding whether or not to place Span on the disabled list.

"[The specialist] can read an MRI and say it's X, but until he gets a chance to see [Span] physically and examine him, he won't be able to give us that information anyways," Williams said. "Hopefully at some point [Thursday] we'll have a better answer on it."

Worth noting

• Before Wednesday's game against the Reds was rained out, Williams said Yunel Escobar has been slowly improving from left hamstring tightness. Escobar, who was not in Wednesday's lineup, was pulled from Monday night's game with the injury.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.