Kaz Matsui may be out of a job in Houston

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Astros manager Brad Mills is being non-committal about whether Jeff Keppinger has taken the second base job from Kaz Matsui, but it certainly seems like Matsui is now the backup.

Mills was asked if Matsui is now the utility guy: “I
don’t want to label it that way yet. We’re still just a dozen games into
the season. Let’s wait and see how everything plays out. I’m congnizant
to get (Matsui) out there and get him on a roll. It’s tough, but it’s
tough to not get the other guy (Keppinger) out there.”

 The “other guy” is hitting .371/.450/.486.  He and Michael Bourn are the only two Astros even pretending to hit, so it makes sense that Keppinger continues to get playing time.

Still, the more playing time Keppinger gets, the more he’ll start to look like what Kaz Matsui will give the Astros with more playing time himself. Ask the Reds who, after Keppinger had a fairly spectacular 267 at bats in 2007, tried to make him into a full time player the following year. The results: .266/.310/.346. Some of that was no doubt due to a knee injury he got in May of that year, but a lot of it was simply a function of him being exposed as something less than a full time player.

Keppinger more or less kills lefties, but if you give the guy 500 plate appearances, he’s not going to do much more for you than Matsui is going to do. In light of that it makes sense for Mills not to make some big announcement regarding who the starting second baseman is, play the hot hand and enjoy Keppinger’s production while it lasts.

Nationals place Anthony Rendon on disabled list

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The Nationals announced that third baseman Anthony Rendon has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 19, with a toe contusion. Pitcher Austin Adams was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse.

Rendon fouled a pitch off of his foot on April 13 in a game against the Rockies. The Nationals were hoping he wouldn’t need to go on the disabled list, which is why he was day-to-day for a week and a half. Unfortunately, Rendon’s stint on the DL can only be backdated to Thursday, so he won’t be eligible to return until this weekend.

Rendon, 27, is hitting .286/.355/.411 with a home run and four RBI in 62 plate appearances so far this season. Wilmer Difo has been handling third base while Rendon has been out and figures to continue doing so for the next week or so.