Nationals reinstate CF Denard Span

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated center fielder Denard Span from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, and optioned right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark to Single-A Potomac.

Span, 31, returns to the Nationals after missing 40 games due to back tightness. The Nationals’ leadoff man is coming off six rehab games – spanning stops with Single-A Hagerstown, Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg – in which he hit .412 with a .500 on-base percentage and a .588 slugging percentage. Span went 7-for-17 with one home run, three walks and six runs scored.

In 59 games with the Nationals this season, Span is hitting .304 (72-for-237) with a .367 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage. In 265 plate appearances, Span has clubbed 15 doubles and five home runs, walked 24 times and stolen 11 bases.

One of the most dynamic center fielders in the game, Span is coming off arguably his finest Major League season. Hitting .302 with a Nationals (2005-present) single-season record 184 hits in 2014, Span collected a career-high 52 extra-base hits last season, to go along with a career-best 31 stolen bases. He became just the sixth qualified player in Nationals history to hit .300 or better, joining Cristian Guzman, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, Dmitri Young and Ryan Zimmerman.

Roark, 28, is 4-4 with four holds and one save, along with a 4.54 ERA in 34 games (six games started) this season. The versatile right-hander is career 26-15 with a 3.04 ERA since his MLB debut, Aug. 7, 2013. In that span, Roark has started 42 games for the Nationals, including 31 (15-10, 2.85 ERA) during his breakout 2014 season. While with Potomac Roark will transition to the starting rotation.

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