Rendon out of lineup but works out on field; 25 draft picks sign

MIAMI - Anthony Rendon is out of the Nationals lineup tonight, his neck still sore after an awkward diving play that forced him out of Monday night's series opener at Marlins Park.

Rendon suffered a neck "stinger," according to manager Dusty Baker. It's not a typical baseball injury, and because the Nationals third baseman has never experienced it before, there seems to be less certainty about how much time he'll need to recover than more standard ailments.

"I asked him if he ever played football, and he said no," Baker said. "It sounds like a football injury. He just said he was sore. They're working on him. They've got about 100 hands back there working on him."

Anthony-Rendon-close-red.jpgRendon suffered the injury while making an impressive diving stop of Giancarlo Stanton's third-inning rocket to his left, a ball that left Stanton's bat at 114 mph. Rendon managed to throw across the diamond from the seat of his pants, though his throw sailed wide and he remained on the ground for several seconds in apparent pain.

"It definitely was a little nervewracking, a little scary," the third baseman said afterward. "It was a jolt of pain. A lot of heat in my neck."

Rendon did remain in the game and even made a tough catch of a foul popup along the third base railing the following inning. But when his turn to bat in the top of the fifth arrived, he informed Baker he was too sore to continue.

Stephen Drew pinch-hit for Rendon, wound up going 2-for-3 with an RBI double and is starting again at third base tonight.

The encouraging news: Rendon was out on the field during batting practice this afternoon, conditioning with his teammates and taking throws in the infield from Ryan Zimmerman.

That said, with a quick turnaround to Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. series finale and then an off-day Thursday, the Nationals might decide to take the cautious route and sit Rendon until Friday's game at home against the Reds.

"You just don't want to take a chance and have it linger," Baker said. "He could be available in an emergency, which I hope not. And we'll check and see how he's doing tomorrow."

* The Nationals announced they have signed 25 of their 40 picks from last week's draft, though the list includes only one of their top five selections.

Third-round pick Nick Raquet, a left-hander from William and Mary, is the highest-drafted player to sign so far.

Among the other notable players to sign were sixth-rounder Kyle Johnston, 10th-rounder Trey Turner (no relation to the current Nationals shortstop) and 20th-rounder Jake Cousins (cousin of Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins).

Darren Baker, son of the Nationals manager, has not signed and is expected to honor his commitment to play at the University of California after getting drafted in the 27th round.

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