Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon’s Injury Could Open Spot For Wilmer Difo

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Mar 27, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Wilmer Difo (1) fields the ball before throwing to first base for an out against the New York Mets during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Wilmer Difo (1) fields the ball before throwing to first base for an out against the New York Mets during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Anthony Rendon currently injured due to a leg injury, could that open up a spot on the Washington Nationals Opening Day roster for Wilmer Difo?

Throughout the spring, the Washington Nationals have stayed relatively healthy. However, with the season approaching, there is some cause for concern about third baseman Anthony Rendon. If the exhibition game was played yesterday against the Red Sox, Rendon wouldn’t have been in the lineup because of a leg injury.

Yesterday, manager Dusty Baker said that Opening Day isn’t a given for Rendon. If he misses Monday’s game against the Miami Marlins, it will be the second time in three seasons he has not played on Opening Day for the Nats:

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Rendon hasn’t been in the Washington Nationals starting lineup since Monday afternoon’s game against the New York Mets when he fouled a ball off of his leg. The 26-year-old hit .250 this spring with one home run and four RBI’s.

Right now, the Washington Nationals need to take a cautious approach with Rendon. In 2015, he sprained the MCL in his left knee diving for a ball in spring training against the Atlanta Braves. He ended up being out till June 4 because of that injury and then went back on the disabled list three weeks later.

With the new ten day disabled list, the Nats have options if they decide to take a slow approach with Rendon if he’s not ready for Opening Day. They do have Stephen Drew who can play some third base (12 games last season). However, should Rendon go on the DL, it would open up a spot for Wilmer Difo.

Difo is in contention for one of the final roster spots for Opening Day. Throughout spring training, he has been used at different positions by Baker whether its as a third baseman, second baseman, shortstop, or even some reps in center field.

If there one’s thing the Nats lack as of right now on the bench, it’s a second infielder. Difo has definitely earned an opportunity this spring if you consider the numbers he put up. The 24-year-old switch-hitter hit .268 with one home run and four RBI’s.

If the Washington Nationals decide to go with only one of the two position players in contention for the final spot, then Difo should be the guy because of the Rendon situation. Yes, Michael Taylor has had a good spring, but with the depth the Nats have in the outfield, it might be best for him to get regular at-bats at the triple-A level.

Since Rendon is so important to this team’s chances in 2017, they need to take it as slow as possible with him so he can have a successful season. As everyone saw in 2015, if he misses a significant portion of time, that can hurt the Nats from an offensive standpoint.

Next: 5 Takeaways From Grapefruit League

Difo could use the time in the minors to learn center field, but he might be needed for the Major League club sooner rather than later.

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