Rendon, who was struck by a pitch Saturday night in Miami, was able to take swings in the batting tunnel today at Coors Field and the results were encouraging.
“He swung today, so he feels pretty good,” manager Davey Martinez said. “He’s still a little tight in there, but he got some swings in and we’ll see where he’s during the game. Hopefully he is not sore after doing all this work and we could potentially use him today to pinch-hit.”
Rendon has made steady progress each day since getting hurt. The Nationals felt all along he wouldn’t need more than a few days to recover and thus made the decision not to place him on the injured list, though they did recall Jake Noll from Triple-A Fresno on Monday to ensure they had a healthy backup infielder.
Howie Kendrick has been starting at third base in Rendon’s absence, allowing Martinez to keep his team’s hottest hitter in the lineup without having to sit second baseman Brian Dozier, who has now homered three times in four days after a slow start to the season.
Update: Though they dug themselves into an early 2-0 hole tonight, the Nationals responded with a four-run third and thus have taken a 4-2 lead over the Rockies. Raimel Tapia hit a two-run homer off Patrick Corbin to put Colorado on the board, but the lefty otherwise has been solid so far. And his teammates, after a sluggish first two innings against right-hander Jeff Hoffman, burst out in a big way in the top of the third. Victor Robles cleared the bases with a double to deep center, then stole third (albeit with an awkward, painful looking slide). That put Robles in position to score on Kendrick’s sacrifice fly, capping the four-run frame.
Update II: Corbin got into a jam in the fifth and had to face Nolan Arenado with two on and two out. He got what he needed, a grounder to short, but Wilmer Difo booted it and a run scored. That cut the lead to 4-3, but Corbin bounced back to retire the side in the sixth. It’s now a bullpen game, though, and you just sense that four runs won’t be enough to win.