The Nationals are hopeful that third baseman Anthony Rendon will return to the lineup Sunday after missing one game following his removal from Friday night’s contest after taking a Carlos Quentin grounder off his right hand.
But the Nats will wait a little longer for left-hander Gio Gonzalez to be activated off the disabled list. He’ll get one more minor league rehabilitation start after being battered around in an outing for high Single-A Potomac on Friday night.
Manager Matt Williams told reporters in San Diego on Saturday that Rendon is progressing, but that the team wanted to see the swelling in his hand go down before he returned to the starting lineup.
Asked about Rendon’s progress, Williams said, “He’s doing contrast treatment - heat, ice (to) flush some blood out of there. It’s a little swollen and pretty sore, so we’ll see how it is. We’ve got a quick turnaround tomorrow. The good news is there’s no fracture. It’s better than last night, not as much swelling today as there was yesterday, but it’s still sore. It’s probably more sore today than it was last night.”
“He could be in there tomorrow, depending how he feels,” Williams added.
Williams said he chose to play Frandsen at third and hit him second instead of moving Ryan Zimmerman from left field back to third base because he liked the “length” Zimmerman has given the lineup by hitting fifth since his return from the disabled list. Frandsen, Williams said, makes a good No. 2 hitter because he can protect leadoff man Denard Span, can hit behind runners and handles the bat well enough to be able to hit and run.
Gonzalez, on the 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation, was knocked around for eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. Instead of rejoining the Nats early next week, he will return to D.C. on Monday, throw an extended bullpen session and pitch in a second rehab game on June 12 for Potomac.
“A little bit of a rough one last night, command wasn’t there,” Williams said. “Arm strength is one thing, but last night he was kind of all over. He didn’t walk a bunch of guys, but his command was all over.”
The Nationals want Gonzalez to throw all of his pitches for strikes, and hope he can go five innings or 80 pitches in his next start for the P-Nats.
“I attribute it to rust, not being in a game situation for an extended period,” Williams said of Gonzalez. “That’s why he’s going to go out there again.”