Martinez believes Rendon and Kendrick deserve All-Star selection

Offensively, Nationals infielders Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick look to have the best chance of being selected to play for the National League in the All-Star Game in Cleveland on July 9.

On June 21, players moving on to the starters election will be announced during the MLB Network broadcast of the Yankees vs. Astros game.

On June 26 at 12 p.m., the 28-hour window for the starters election begins. It concludes at 4 p.m. on June 27.

Starters for the All-Star Game will be announced at 7 p.m. on June 27 on ESPN.

The remainder of the All-Star rosters will be announced on June 30 at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Rendon-Tags-Out-Machado-Gray-Sidebar.jpgRendon was in fifth place in the first release of National League fan voting, trailing Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Justin Turner and Josh Donaldson. Rendon trails fourth-place Donaldson by a little over 28,000 votes (206,588 to 178,215).

Despite a stay on the injured list due to an elbow injury suffered in Miami April 20 when he was hit by a pitch, Rendon has slashed .321/.415/1.075 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs.

Rendon annually deserves consideration for an All-Star Game invite. He won a Silver Slugger in 2014. He finished fifth that season in National League MVP voting. Rendon has hit .301 or better these last 2 1/2 seasons. But he has never been rewarded with an All-Star citation. He also finished sixth in MVP voting in 2016.

But when asked earlier this season about the possibility of being selected for the Mid-Summer Classic, Rendon said he would prefer to have the time off during the All-Star break.

“He always jokes around about that,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez. “He wants to be an All-Star, don’t misinterpret it. It means a lot to him. Would he like to have his days off? Absolutely. He plays every day, but he with that being said he could say all he wants about not wanting to go to Cleveland. He’ll go to Cleveland just to be on the All-Star team.”

For many seasons Rendon has been overshadowed by teammates Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, or Daniel Murphy or Jayson Werth. But Zimmerman is hurt and the rest are gone. This is Rendon’s team now. Even if he is a quiet guy who doesn’t like talking about himself. Martinez has talked to Rendon about the possibility of going to the All-Star Game and what it would mean for his career. Going to Cleveland could even help his cause when working out a long-term re-sign with the Nationals in this free agent season.

“I told him, ‘It’s not as bad as you think,’” Martinez said, chuckling. “It’s pretty fun, actually. Enjoy it. Rightfully so. He’s another guy, if you ask me even before, if you asked me he was an All-Star, absolutely.

“Honestly, who wouldn’t (want to go). You’re an elite. One of the best. For me, watching him, and watching him play over the years when I was on the other side, now I get to see him every day, I always said to myself, this guy should’ve been an All-Star a while ago. But to actually get voted in and be an All-Star, that’s an unbelievable accomplishment. He needs to go experience that, finally.”

Rendon’s teammate Howie Kendrick has been the Nats’ best utility player, and because of the many injuries the team has sustained has started several games. Kendrick played only 40 games last season after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury. He was an all All-Star in 2011 with the Angels. This season his has hit .333 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs.

“He brings it all. He really does,” Martinez said. “Leader in the clubhouse. Very silent leader. He addresses guys individually. When something needs to be said, he says it. But also on the field, watching him play the way he plays. I’m with everybody. I’d love to see Howie in there for 162 games, but it’s not going to happen. But the chance to get him out there, it’s really important for us. My job is, really, to keep him healthy so that he can play throughout the whole year for us.

“I said this the other day, and in my eyes he’s an All-Star, 100 percent. What he means to this ballclub and what he’s done, and you see what other guys have done around the league. This guy’s an All-Star right now.”

Both Rendon and Kendrick are more than deserving of the selection. They certainly have been the best difference-makers this season for the Nats.

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