9/12/2013 12:31 A.M. ET
Bullpen, bench could see changes in 2014
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Even though the Nationals are making a run at the second and final National League Wild Card spot, look for them to make some changes after the season comes to end.
The bullpen is average at best, so look for general manager Mike Rizzo to sign some left-handed relievers during the offseason. They are currently using Ian Krol and Fernando Abad as the lefties out of the bullpen, but Abad is having problems getting left-handed hitters out [.327], while Krol has a 6.00 ERA since the All-Star break.
Also look for a lot of changes on the bench. Of all the players on the active roster, Scott Hairston and Steve Lombardozzi are the only reserves who are expected to be back for the 2014 season.
Look for the Nationals to try to acquire some left-handed hitters for the bench. Lefty Chad Tracy hasn't been able to get the job done like he did last year.
Span extends hitting streak to 22 games
NEW YORK -- Nationals outfielder Denard Span didn't waste any time extending his hitting streak to 22 games on Wednesday night against the Mets at Citi Field.
Batting leadoff against right-hander Zack Wheeler in the first inning, Span swung at an 1-1 pitch and singled to left field. He would make it all the way to third base on a double by Jayson Werth, but was left stranded after Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond struck out.
"You get it out the way early," Span said after the Nationals blanked the Mets, 3-0. "I try to do it the earliest I can, so I can get more into the game and not think about a hitting streak."
During the hitting streak, Span is 36-for-92 [.391] with two home runs and seven RBIs. The Nationals are 16-6 during that span.
"Once I got going and Jayson Werth got going, the whole team is starting to play better," Span said. "I take pride in being a leadoff hitter and getting things going, I'm just happy that I've been able start the game off the right way for the last month or so."
Werth proving his worth to Nats' owner
NEW YORK -- Principal owner Mark Lerner was asked which player on the Nationals impressed him the most this season and he mentioned several players, including Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan.
"It's awesome to watch young guys get up here. Let's see what they have. It just makes us better for years to come," Lerner said.
Most of the conversation was about Jayson Werth, who was second in the National League with a .328 batting average entering Wednesday's action against the Mets. The Nationals signed Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract in December, 2010. Three seasons later, the Nationals remain pleased about signing Werth to a long-term deal.
"We were always positive about Jayson," Lerner said. "What people don't realize about Jayson is, it's not only what he does on the field, it's what he does in the clubhouse. He is a real leader, a true professional. We are glad he is a member of the Nationals.
"He helped bring the culture of winning that we now have. Even when he is on the disabled list, he is always there, encouraging the guys, doing the things he needs to do as a leader. That is so important."
Detwiler throws 30 pitches in pain-free session
NEW YORK -- Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler, who is on the disabled list with a back strain, had a bullpen session at Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon.
Detwiler threw 30 pitches and didn't feel any pain in his back. In fact, he was able to throw all of his pitches -- fastball, curveball and changeup.
"He commanded his fastball out of the windup pretty well," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "Breaking ball was a little rolly, but that was to be expected. His velocity was pretty good. At the stretch, he was unhappy with his command, but for the most part, I thought he threw the ball well."
Detwiler will have two days off, then throw another bullpen session. Pretty soon, Detwiler will have a live bullpen session, which means he will face some hitters.
Detwiler is hoping to pitch in a big league game before the season comes to an end. He has appeared 13 games this season, going 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA.
The Nationals have indicated to Detwiler that they would like him to play Winter ball this offseason. It's not known for which team he will play.
"They kind of mentioned something to me and they said just think about it and we'll come back to you," Detwiler said. "I'm focusing on getting back this year, so I'm not going to think about that at the current time. But I know there is a good possibility they want me to go. We kind of take it as it comes."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.