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Team Report - WASHINGTON NATIONALS

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INSIDE PITCH

CINCINNATI - Denard Span has been on a tear the past month, but Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams said he's seen no change in the center fielder's approach at the plate.

"I don't notice any difference," Williams said. "I do see more base hits are going to left field. That's probably why is average is up. I think he takes the same approach every day, to battle and get on base for our team."

Entering this weekend's series at Cincinnati, Span was batting .355 in his past 19 games. He continued his torrid pace on Friday night by going 4-for-5 with a run, RBI, and his 18th stolen base. He has hit safely in 16 of 18 games in July.

Even when Span was sputtering at the plate earlier this season, Williams was confident that things would turn around. He never for a moment considered taking Span out of the leadoff spot. Span now has six multi-hit games in his past eight starts.

"Sometimes the results aren't there even when the desire and attitude and approach are there," Williams said. "You can't steer it after you hit it. Sometimes they catch it."

NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 56-44

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez, 6-5, 3.74 ERA) at Reds (RHP Johnny Cueto, 10-6, 2.18 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--3B Ryan Zimmerman is shut down for at least two weeks and is very early in his rehab process, according to Nationals manager Matt Williams. "His plan right now is to just rest and not doing anything," Williams said. "For the next week or so, there's really going to be nothing ... He's going to be shut down for a while. It's too early. He pulled his hammy pretty good. It's pretty sore." Zimmerman was batting .282 with 19 doubles, five homers and 36 RBIs in 53 games.

--2B Zach Walters made his first major league start at second base on Friday. "He felt more and more comfortable (at second)," said Nationals manager Matt Williams. "With Zim's (Ryan Zimmerman) loss, we needed a little more offense. He's been swinging it well." Walters played most of his games at Triple-A Syracuse at second and third, although he's a natural shortstop.

--CF Denard Span has been on a tear the past month. But Nats manager Matt Williams doesn't see anything different in his approach at the plate. Span was batting .355 in 19 games entering Friday's action. "I don't notice any difference," Williams said. "I do see more base hits are going to left field. That's probably why is average is up. I think he takes the same approach every day, to battle and get on base for our team." Span went 4-for-5 with a RBI on Friday night.

--RHP Tanner Roark's remarkable run continued on Friday night when he allowed just one earned run and three hits with a walk and six strikeouts to earn his 10th win. It was the 13th quality start for Roark, who was battling just to be in the Nats' rotation coming out of spring training. "He's been really efficient," said Nationals manager Matt Williams. "He's got the ability to throw any pitch in any count for strikes. He's continued to work hard, pitch well, and compete."

QUOTE TO NOTE: " It was Roark's 13th quality start. Not bad for a guy who late in spring training was battling just to be a part of the Nats' rotation.

"It's pretty cool to think about. It's a little surprising. But I have all the confidence in myself. I'll just try to keep it going." - Washington pitcher Tanner Roark, about recording his 13th quality start after barely making the starting rotation out of spring training.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

--3B Ryan Zimmerman (right hamstring strain) went on the 15-day disabled list July 23. An MRI exam found a substantial strain, according to manager Matt Williams.

--OF Eury Perez (left toe fracture) was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and placed on the 60-day disabled list May 16. He began a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League on July 5, and moved his rehab to Class A Potomac on July 6. He transferred his rehab assignment to Syracuse on July 19.

--RHP Ross Ohlendorf (right back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list March 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on March 26. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac on May 14. He aggravated the injury May 25.

--RHP Erik Davis (Tommy John surgery in April 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 13. He will miss the entire season.

ROTATION:

RHP Stephen Strasburg

RHP Jordan Zimmermann

RHP Tanner Roark

RHP Doug Fister

LHP Gio Gonzalez

BULLPEN:

RHP Rafael Soriano (closer)

RHP Tyler Clippard

RHP Drew Storen

RHP Craig Stammen

RHP Aaron Barrett

LHP Jerry Blevins

LHP Ross Detwiler

CATCHERS:

Wilson Ramos

Jose Lobaton

INFIELDERS:

1B Adam LaRoche

2B Danny Espinosa

SS Ian Desmond

3B Anthony Rendon

INF Kevin Frandsen

INF Zach Walters

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Bryce Harper

CF Denard Span

RF Jayson Werth

OF Nate McLouth

OF Scott Hairston

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