Nats expect Rendon back this weekend, Eaton during road trip

LOS ANGELES - Anthony Rendon fouled a ball off his left big toe one week ago, in the fifth inning last Friday night at Nationals Park. He hasn't played since, and despite initial hope he'd be back for tonight's series opener against the Dodgers, he's not in the lineup.

Which begs the question: Why, given the fact he's now been out seven days, was Rendon not placed on the 10-day disabled list?

"He constantly kept saying he was getting better and better," manager Davey Martinez said. "And he was trying to do things. So we felt like he'd probably be ready this weekend. ... I'm pretty confident he'll play this weekend."

sidebar-Rendon-Blue-.jpgThe Nationals continue to believe Rendon will return sometime during this series. He was scheduled to hit and take grounders on the field before tonight's game. If that went well, Martinez said there was a chance he'd be available to pinch-hit.

X-rays taken of Rendon's toe the night he was injured showed no fracture, only a bruise. He hasn't undergone any other imaging tests since, insisting he was showing signs of improvement. That included an attempt to hit in the cage at Citi Field during Wednesday night's game, though that didn't produce the desired result.

"He tried to hit the other day in the cage, thinking that we'd use him," Martinez said. "And it bothered him, so I said we didn't want to use him. But he feels a lot better. The day off really helped. He came in today feeling pretty good."

Adam Eaton, meanwhile, hit in the cage and played catch on the field at Dodger Stadium this afternoon. Though he was eligible to come off the 10-day DL today, the bone bruise in the outfielder's left ankle did not heal quickly enough to allow that.

The Nationals do believe Eaton is close to returning, and the fact he made the trip to the West Coast with the club suggests they believe he'll be playing within the week.

"He's getting pretty close," Martinez said. "We'll determine that once we get there."

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