As the month of April is nearing its end, the Washington Nationals are getting closer to having their full lineup healthy. Yunel Escobar is back in the lineup tonight at third base and Denard Span made his return to the leadoff spot on Sunday. Today, manager Matt Williams told reporters that Anthony Rendon, one of their best offensive players a season ago, could be playing in rehab games as soon as the end of this week:
Rendon has not played a game for the Nationals since March 9. In that spring training game against the Braves, Rendon injured his knee diving for a ball at third base. He did get the out, but ended up spraining his MCL in the process.
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If Rendon is able to stay healthy tomorrow after the five inning extended spring game, he could see a rehab game on Friday. The Nationals affiliates that have home games on Friday night are double-A Harrisburg (against Reading) and high-A Potomac (against Lynchburg).
One of the questions that remains to be answered how long will Rendon’s rehab take, when you consider he only played in three games this spring? Well, Span and Werth each played in three rehab games themselves and only took part in one combined spring training game, which Span played in on March 5 against the Mets. Rendon, who played third base for the Nationals the bulk of last season, will likely play both second and third base during his rehab assignment:
They could always move Yunel Escobar back to second, but Escobar has done a very good job at third defensively and he is very unfamiliar with the second base position after switching to third in the middle of the spring. He has not played second base in a regular season game since 2007.
After a sluggish start to the season by the Nats offense, the team has bounced back by scoring 40 runs in their last seven games, coming into tonight’s action against the Cardinals. Washington is on the road all of next week with games against the Braves and the NL East leading Mets, who won two out of three games against Washington to start the year.
The fact that Rendon’s knee is not causing him pain anymore is a great thing for Nats fans. He had a great season last year, hitting .287 with 21 home runs and 83 RBIs and finishing in fourth place in the voting for National League MVP.
Another question that will be answered is when Rendon comes back , does he go back to the number two spot in the order or does Ian Desmond stay there? Desmond is hitting .476 in five games in the number two spot. Whereever Rendon hits, it will be good for the Nationals to have yet another good offensive player in their lineup again.