Update on Escobar’s wrist, Rendon’s return, Gonzalez’s bounce back after rough first inning

Nationals manager Matt Williams said third baseman Yunel Escobar left the game because of a right wrist injury. The X-Rays at the stadium were negative.

“Yunel on the check swing, his right wrist wasn’t feeling good so we’ll evaluate that tomorrow and see where he’s at,” Williams reported postgame.

“They took an X-Ray, he’s fine. There’s no issue there, he just tweaked it trying to check up.”

Escobar exited the game to begin the top of the second. Danny Espinosa was called in to play second and Anthony Rendon moved to third base.

Rendon went 2-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. He was left at the plate to end the game after Clint Robinson got caught off first base.

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Rendon’s teammates were glad to have him back in the lineup. It was his first game of the season and he looked good at fielding his position at second base and third base with four assists on the night.

“Yeah, he’s a great hitter,” right fielder Bryce Harper said. Harper went 0-for-3, but had a RBI and a walk.

“I think everybody knows that,” Harper added. “He’s going to do what he does and he’s going to hit his doubles, hit his balls through the hole and hit homers too. He’s going to get on base. He’s going to help us most definitely. We’re excited to have him back. He’ll help us with his glove too and hopefully (Yunel) can get back in there this week hopefully, we’ll get going.”

“I think it’s awesome,” starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez said of the return of Rendon. “He’s unbelievable, it’s great to see him back in the lineup finally. It’s a nice little piece to have back. Now we just hope Escobar is healthy for the next start.”

Gonzalez allowed two runs, two hits and walked two hitters in the first inning. The Cubs loaded the bases with no one out, but managed just two runs. Gonalez said a discussion with his catcher Jose Lobaton helped him figure out what went wrong in the opening frame.

“It definitely was a mechanical adjustment,” Gonzalez said. “Loby was telling me I’m flying open, just leaving the ball flat over the plate. Once I made the adjustment, I started pounding the strike zone and being more aggressive. It just seemed like a totally different person in the second inning.”

Gonzalez said he has actually had trouble in past starts with moving slowly out of the gate.

“Throughout my career it’s a lot,” Gonzalez said of early-inning command issues. “It’s definitely always an uphill battle. If it’s either mechanical, it’s definitely emotional. It’s one of those things just trying to put it together and once the emotion kicks in it’s definitely the mechanics come back into place and try to be aggressive in the strike zone.

“But six innings, two runs, even with all that storm in the first inning, I’ll take it any day of the week. Keeping your team in the game as much as possible. Again, it was a tough battle. (Jake) Arrieta is not an easy pitcher to go out there and try to get some runs off, he did a great job.”

The game was delayed almost two hours. Sometimes the start and stop can wreak havoc in a starters readiness for first pitch. Gonzalez said he just concentrated on not over exerting himself with warm up pitches prior to the game.

“Just got to pace yourself,” Gonzalez said. “I was just trying to stay loose the whole time in here. Get a stretch here and there. Going to the batting cage down below and trying to stretch out some more there. It’s just making the adjustment. The other day I was pitching in 95-degree weather and now I’m pitching in 60 (degrees). It’s constantly switching it up, trying to get a good feel for it. There’s no excuses.”

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