Tonight, the Harrisburg Senators, the double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, will be back in action after their day off on Thursday. They will be in Bowie, Maryland to take on the Bowie Bay Sox (Baltimore Orioles). While Joe Ross will get the start after striking out eight batters and giving up only two hits in his last start on April 25 against Reading, that will not be the main story on his team.
The first player who will be back is Nats infielder Anthony Rendon. On Thursday, Rendon took part in a full workout for Washington and could be back playing for the Senators for the first time since April 25:
The good news on Rendon was that the injury that kept him out of the lineup for three straight days with the Senators was not to his knee. MLB.com’s William Ladson tweeted that he was having issues with a side. With Washington putting up 34 runs in their last three wins, getting Rendon back soon could keep the great play by offense going for an extended period of time.
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Rendon will bat second tonight and play second base, but there is another National prospect who will be making his double-A debut. On Thursday, Wilmer Difo got the call up from high-A Potomac after a red hot start to his minor league season for the defending Carolina League champions:
In 19 games for Potomac, the 23-year old shortstop hit .320 with three home runs and 14 RBI’s.He was hitting .395 in his last ten games with 10 RBIs. He was fourth in the Carolina League in batting average, tied for third in RBI’s, and third in slugging percentage (.533). Last year, Difo was the South Atlantic League MVP with the Hagerstown Suns (low-A) after hitting .315 with 14 home runs, 90 RBI’s, 49 stolen bases, and a .360 on-base percentage.
For the Senators, Difo brings an instant offensive upgrade to a team that has the second lowest average in the Eastern League (.235) and the fourth lowest RBI’s (71). Even though it will only be for a couple of a games, it will be interesting to watch an infield with Rendon, Difo, and second baseman Tony Renda (.275, 0 HR, 7 RBI’s).
Difo is expected to play shortstop for Harrisburg, a position that needs an offensive upgrade at the moment with Stephen Perez hitting .130 on the season. Perez is now playing down in Potomac. With Trea Turner coming to the Nationals system in June, it is now one month closer to a potential Difo-Turner double play combination at the double-A level.