With Opening Day less than two weeks away, the Washington Nationals are hoping that they could get one of their key offensive threats, third baseman Anthony Rendon, in the lineup on April 6 against the New York Mets. However, this morning, the team found out that the chances of that are not very good. Over two weeks ago, Rendon hurt his knee diving for a ball in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves. While he did record the out, the Nats still don’t know how long he will be out after another MRI he had yesterday on his sprained MCL:
If Rendon is not in the lineup, Washington does have options they could go in that spot for the short term, whether its utility infielder Kevin Frandsen or even Danny Espinosa, who has played a couple of games at third base this spring. Even with either of those two players in the lineup, it won’t make up for the big bat that Rendon brings to Matt Williams’ lineup.
Last season, the 24-year-old third baseman hit .287 in 153 games with 21 home runs and 83 RBI’s. He finished fifth in the National League MVP voting, fourth in WAR, and won a Silver Slugger at the position. While missing Rendon is somewhat of a concern, Washington needs to make sure he is 100% before he comes back into the lineup.
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It’s been a lot of small injuries for the Nats this spring involving players such as Yunel Escobar, Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg, and Drew Storen. Right now, in addition to possibly Rendon, Denard Span will miss opening day after undergoing surgery on his core muscle.
That being said, Washington has seen progress in the rehab of left fielder Jayson Werth, who is coming back from surgery on his shoulder. Here is the latest from CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman on Werth:
As I have previously stated on Werth, the Nationals should not rush him back unless he is fully healthy. The 162-game season is a marathon, not a sprint. While you can lose the division in April and May, this is a Washington team that has the talent on offense as well as the depth in the starting rotation to get thru some of these injuries.
Plus. If Rendon is out for Opening Day, the Nationals can see more of Espinosa’s progress as he tries to hit exclusively right-handed this spring. It is not what Washington wanted going into the year, but it is not something that should cause the fans to panic just yet.