Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon, who missed the first two months of the season with knee and oblique injuries, is headed back to the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps muscle.
Rendon played 18 games between the DL stints, hitting .290 with zero homers and a .737 OPS while splitting time between second base and third base defensively. Last season he played 157 of 162 games, leading the league in runs scored and finishing fifth in the MVP balloting.
He joins left fielder Jayson Werth, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, and backup outfielders Nate McLouth and Reed Johnson on the Nationals’ disabled list, forcing manager Matt Williams to put together a patchwork lineup that will once again likely include plenty of playing time for Danny Espinosa.
UPDATE: The Nationals announced that Storen left with a blister on his right foot. Sounds like it’s not a big deal. The Nationals could use a break.
4:05 p.m. ET: This is not good: Drew Storen left the Nationals-Cardinals game a few minutes ago with an apparent injury.
It was in the sixth inning, and Storen left after facing four batters and recording two outs. After walking Kolten Wong he motioned to the dugout. Matt Williams and a trainer came out and Storen left the game.
The Nats are suffering from a serious injury bug lately. Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, Casey Janssen, Jayson Werth, Nate McLouth are all out of commission right now. Yunel Escobar and Stephen Strasburg just recently returned to action after missing some time.
Updates on Storen’s condition as we hear about it.
Nationals center fielder Denard Span, who underwent offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia, went under the knife again Monday to fix a “right core muscle injury.”
Span made his spring training debut Thursday, going 0-for-2 against the Mets, and there was no indication something was wrong then. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes that several prominent players, including Miguel Cabrera, had core muscle surgery in recent years and the typical recovery timetable was at least 4-6 weeks.
That means Span is definitely out for Opening Day and may miss the entire first month of the season. In the meantime 24-year-old prospect Michael Taylor could get a chance to step in for Span as the Nationals’ starting center fielder after hitting .304 with 23 homers and a .915 OPS in 110 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
Washington is already without left fielder Jayson Werth and backup outfielder Nate McLouth due to injuries, so the Nationals are running thin at a spot where they previously appeared to have plenty of depth.
The Nationals have agreed to terms with outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Gwynn appeared in 80 games with the Phillies last season, but he struggled in limited playing time, putting up a .152/.264/.190 batting line across 127 plate appearances. He also lost his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, last June. The 32-year-old owns a .238 batting average and a .619 OPS across 685 games in the majors, but he offers speed and experience at all three outfield positions.
As Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes, Gwynn will function as insurance with Jayson Werth and Nate McLouth each rehabbing from shoulder surgery.
Outfielder Nate Schierholtz has joined the Nationals for Saturday afternoon’s match-up against the Giants, getting the call-up from Triple-A Syracuse, per CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman. Schierholtz was released by the Cubs on August 13 and joined the Nationals as a free agent on August 18, reporting to Syracuse for four games. Nate McLouth was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Schierholtz, also per Zuckerman. The Nationals optioned Michael Taylor back to Syracuse to create 25-man roster space.
Schierholtz provides a left-handed bat off of the bench for the NL East-leading Nationals. The 30-year-old has struggled this season, hitting only six home runs with 33 RBI and a .192/.240/.300 slash line.
However, over his career, Schierholtz has been relatively productive against right-handed pitching. He has a career .722 OPS against right-handers compared to .650 against southpaws.