LOS ANGELES - Davey Martinez’s afternoon declaration that Anthony Rendon would likely be available to pinch-hit surely left many of Nationals fans wondering why the star third baseman never did emerge from the dugout during Saturday night’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers.
It’s not like there wasn’t an opportunity, most notably the top of the eighth, when with his team trailing by two runs, Martinez sent Matt Reynolds instead of Rendon up to pinch-hit against lefty Tony Cingrani. Reynolds, who entered the at-bat 1-for-11 with a walk this season, struck out looking.
Afterward, Martinez revealed that Rendon was indeed available, but only for a specific situation.
“I probably would’ve (used him) if we had a chance to tie or go ahead,” Martinez said. “But he went through his work today and he was pretty sore. So we’re going to have to re-evaluate again and see where he’s at.”
The latter half of that answer might well set off alarm bells among those concerned that Rendon still hasn’t been able to get back onto the field eight days after fouling a ball off his left big toe.
Despite signs of progress in recent days, and a full pregame workout Saturday, Rendon apparently has not fully recovered. The Nationals insisted throughout that he’d be able to return in fewer than the minimum 10 days he’d have to spend on the disabled list. Now, if the club has to make a transaction, it can only be backdated to Thursday, meaning Rendon wouldn’t be eligible to return until April 29, a full 16 days removed from the initial foul ball off his toe.
Martinez wouldn’t commit either way when asked postgame whether the DL was now a possibility for Rendon.
“We’ll have to revisit,” he said. “I’ve got to talk to (director of athletic training Paul Lessard) tonight and see where we’re at. He did a lot of stuff today, and he said he was pretty sore. But he said he could pinch-hit possibly if we need him. But we’ll see.”