Span: ‘It was a tough decision trying to come back and also shutting it down.’

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Nationals center fielder Denard Span knew something was wrong with his left hip after he saw the back specialist a few weeks ago. Span would later learn that he had a torn labrum in the hip and will have surgery Tuesday to repair it.

Span said every time he had back spasms, he would feel pain in the hip, but the pain in the hip felt secondary to the back spasms. But once he received a cortisone shot for his back, that’s when Span knew something was wrong with the hip.

When Span returned to the Nationals earlier this week, he said he didn’t feel that great at all.

“After the second game [against the Padres], I went home,” Span said. “I wasn’t feeling good. I had two hits. Normally, when I get two hits, I’m in an upbeat mood. I just wasn’t. So I talked to my mom and I thought [having surgery] was best for my future. I need to go ahead and get myself fixed so I can be myself on the field.”

Span said he had a terrible eight months. He had hernia and abdominal surgery before the regular season started. He hasn’t fully recovered from the abdominal surgery. Then he had back spasms that put him on the disabled list on July 7th.

“It’s been a domino effect — bad timing, bad luck,” Span said. “It’s just frustrating, but I’m trying to stay positive as much as possible and try to trust in God’s plan that I will overcome this. It’s just another chapter in my book. It’s all I can do right now.”

Span’s latest injury comes at a bad time. He is a free agent after the season and the Nationals are still in the race to win the National League East title.

“It was a tough decision trying to come back and also shutting it down,” Span said. “All around, it’s tough. I worked my butt off to get to this point. I have to wait and get myself better. I’m fine with waiting.”

Span has been a tremendous leadoff hitter with the Nats, hitting .292 with a .345 on-base percentage in three years with the club. Span believes the trade that sent him from the Twins to the Nationals for right-hander Alex Meyer after the 2012 season resurrected his career. Span went so far as to say the Nationals elevated his game.

“I enjoyed my three years here. … This trade was probably the best thing for me at the time. I learned a lot here from the coaching staff, my teammates. It’s been a good time.”

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