ATLANTA - Infielder Anthony Rendon will not make his scheduled minor league rehab start at Double-A Harrisburg tonight due to fatigue, according to the Nationals. Rendon, who is recovering from a left MCL sprain, was due to play seven innings at second base in his third game. He was 2-for-4 in his first two games, playing five innings on Friday and seven on Saturday, before a planned day off yesterday.
Nationals manager Matt Williams expected Rendon to follow tonight’s game with a full nine innings tomorrow. Rendon had yet to be scratched when Williams addressed the media in his normal pregame session.
“It’s important to make sure for him that he just feels good with his legs and (si) able to play every day,” Williams said. “There’s no requirement for him to play back-to-back nines or play two nines, get a day off and go again. We can make those adjustments on a day-to-day basis, too. But I just want him to be feeling good about his legs and feeling good about where he’s at with his swing. Then he’ll be good to go.”
Rendon’s knee injury occurred while making a dazzling diving stop on a ground ball at third base in his third Grapefruit League game on March 9. He underwent multiple MRIs and sought additional medical opinions, including a trip to see famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Rendon remained shut down for the remainder of the spring and was only able to resume baseball activity in the past 10 days.
It seemed like Rendon was on a path to return as early as this weekend when the Nats travel to New York for a four-game series with the Mets.
After appearing at third base in Friday’s game, Rendon played second base on Saturday and was scheduled to again start there tonight.
“He’s gonna play some second when he returns, some third when he returns,” Williams said. “We want to make sure he’s getting work at both places. He’s played third a lot up until now. We want to get him some reps over there, too, so he can get a feel for it. I’m just concerned about him being healthy.”
The obvious assumption is that infielder Yunel Escobar doesn’t feel comfortable playing second, the reason general manager Mike Rizzo acquired him. Escobar, a career shortstop, has been the team’s starting third baseman in all but the two games he missed with a groin strain. He has played well there, but Rendon is considered a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman when healthy.