MICHAEL A. TAYLOR’S RETURN
Although he has struggled on his rehab assignment, Michael Taylor is expected to return as soon as Monday back to the Washington Nationals.
An oblique injury has kept the centerfielder out of the lineup since July 6. The Nats miss his speed and ability to steal bases. In the middle of his best season, Taylor’s ability to swipe 10 bases and slash extra-base hits made the Adam Eaton ACL tear at least tolerable. Add his range and arm in the outfield and he has more than held his own.
When matched with Howie Kendrick in the lineup, the pair will have the same capability to create runs with speed as Trea Turner and Eaton have. Turner should be back sometime this month and the trio will cause nightmares with their fast legs.
Washington has become too reliant on the home run game. They can overlook Taylor’s strikeouts to use his short swing to their advantage. When he reaches, he is productive. In 72 games, he scored 40 runs. Two years ago, he scored 49 over 138. A huge difference.
The return of Taylor marks the first of three starters expected back in the lineup in August. Jayson Werth is rehabbing and Turner will once he is cleared. Kendrick was the only bat Washington found on the trade market in July. Yet, the return of these three will feel like a new trade.
It starts with Taylor.