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Taylor scratched with mild side tightness

MLB.com @JamalCollier

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor was scratched prior to Monday's 2-1 loss to the Cardinals with mild tightness in his right side. Taylor came to the coaching staff after batting practice in the morning to tell them about the injury and the Nationals made the decision to keep him out of the lineup.

"We're not going to take any chances right now," manager Dave Martinez said. "[Taylor should] stay home and get some treatment."

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor was scratched prior to Monday's 2-1 loss to the Cardinals with mild tightness in his right side. Taylor came to the coaching staff after batting practice in the morning to tell them about the injury and the Nationals made the decision to keep him out of the lineup.

"We're not going to take any chances right now," manager Dave Martinez said. "[Taylor should] stay home and get some treatment."

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:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Martinez said the Nationals should know more about Taylor's status on Tuesday, but the Nats' manager has been especially careful with any sort of soreness or ailment this spring. Especially considering Taylor missed about a month this past season with a mild right oblique strain, although it is unclear whether this latest injury has any connection to that ailment.

Andrew Stevenson took Taylor's place in the lineup and smashed a solo home run in the third inning off Luke Weaver.

Video: WSH@STL: Stevenson jacks a solo shot to left

Taylor has appeared in five Grapefruit League games this spring, going 2-for-11 at the plate with a double and four strikeouts. He has spent most of his time in center field, where the Nationals have encouraged him to take more of a leadership role.

Benoit premieres 
The Nationals got their first look at right-hander Joaquin Benoit in his Grapefruit League debut in the fifth inning Monday, after he signed a one-year deal with Washington about a week into camp.

Benoit allowed two runs on three hits with a strikeout in his only inning of work, but Martinez left encouraged at where Benoit's velocity was for his first outing.

"I've seen Benoit in the past, I've [coached] him in the past," Martinez said. "He's throwing 93-94 [mph] already, so that was good to see."

Video: WSH@STL: Benoit gets Valera to go down swinging

Up next
The Nationals host the Astros on Tuesday afternoon (1:05 ET, live on MLB.TV) at Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. A.J. Cole will make his second start of the Grapefruit League season as he continues to make his case to be the club's fifth starter.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Michael A. Taylor