Harper returns to Nats lineup; Span, Espinosa still out

The Nationals get the reigning National League Rookie of the Year back in their lineup, but their leadoff hitter and starting second baseman are still sidelined.

Bryce Harper returns to the Nationals lineup tonight after missing yesterday’s game with flu-like symptoms. Center fielder Denard Span (flu-like symptoms) and second baseman Danny Espinosa (right wrist) will not start tonight’s series finale against the Marlins, however.

This will be the third straight game that Espinosa has missed since getting hit by a pitch on the wrist during Sunday’s loss to the Braves. Espinosa had previously told reporters in Miami that he hoped to be able to return no later than Friday’s game against the Mets. Tomorrow’s off-day will give Espinosa extra time to recover before that Friday game in New York.

Like Harper, Span missed yesterday’s game due to some type of flu bug. Roger Bernadina will replace Span in center for the second straight night, and Jayson Werth will serve as the Nats’ leadoff hitter.

The Nationals will send Ross Detwiler to the mound tonight as they look to take the rubber game of this three-game set.

Detwiler is winless in his two starts this season despite posting a 0.69 ERA.

Right-hander Ricky Nolasco will get the ball for the Marlins. The Nats faced Nolasco back on opening day, getting to him for two runs on three hits over six innings in a 2-0 Washington win. Harper provided both of the runs that day; you might recall him smacking two home runs in his first two at-bats of the season.

For the Nats:

RF Jayson Werth
2B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
CF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Ross Detwiler

For the Marlins:

LF Juan Pierre
2B Donovan Solano
3B Placido Polanco
CF Justin Ruggiano
1B Greg Dobbs
RF Austin Kearns
C Miguel Olivo
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
P Ricky Nolasco

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