UPDATE: Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com reports that Escobar left the game with a right wrist injury, but X-rays came back negative.
9:31 p.m. ET: Despite Anthony Rendon coming off the disabled list Thursday, the Nationals were planning to keep Yunel Escobar at third base and play Rendon at second base. Well, that arrangement lasted just one inning.
According to Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com, Escobar left tonight’s game against the Cubs with an apparent injury. Dan Kolko of MASN notes that Escobar appeared to grimace after he struck out swinging in the first inning. Rendon has moved over to third base while Danny Espinosa has entered the game to play second.
Escobar, 32, is batting .316/.376/.389 with two home runs and 14 RBI over 50 games this season.
Anthony Rendon is off the disabled list and will make his 2015 debut for the Nationals tonight after missing the first two months of the season with knee and oblique injuries.
Rendon played mostly third base last year while finishing fifth in the MVP voting as a 24-year-old, but he’s rejoining the Nationals’ lineup as a second baseman so that they can continue to play Yunel Escobar at third base.
If healthy Rendon is a huge addition to the Nationals. He’s a plus defensive player at second base or third base and hit .287 with 21 homers and an .824 OPS in 153 games last season to rank second among NL position players in Wins Above Replacement.
Rendon’s return means much less playing time for Danny Espinosa, who’s been the Nationals’ primary second baseman and now moves back into a bench role after hitting .246 with six homers and a .767 OPS in 44 games.
Anthony Rendon’s first attempt at a minor league rehab assignment was halted about a month ago due to an oblique strain, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he returned to game action last night with Double-A Harrisburg.
Rendon, who has been sidelined since early on in spring training with a sprained MCL in his left knee, went 1-for-4 with a single and three strikeouts and played seven innings at second base. The Nationals figure to play it safe with him after his previous setback, but there’s optimism that he could finally be ready to make his season debut at some point next week.
Rendon was the Nationals’ most valuable player last season, batting .287/.351/.473 with 21 home runs, 83 RBI, and 17 steals while splitting his time between second base and third base. He’s expected to play both positions during his rehab assignment, but it looks like he’ll play second base upon his return while Yunel Escobar will remain at third.
Anthony Rendon’s return from a left knee sprain hit a snag this week due to some tightness in his side, but he could resume his minor league rehab assignment as soon as tomorrow.
Nationals manager Matt Williams said that Rendon went through a full workout today. Assuming he feels good tomorrow, he’ll return to the lineup with Double-A Harrisburg for the first time since last Saturday. The Nationals were originally hoping that Rendon would be ready to make his season debut during this weekend’s four-game series against the Mets, but he’ll likely spend a few more days in the minors to get back into the swing of things.
The Nationals were talking about potentially having Rendon split time between second base and third base upon his return, as Yunel Escobar has grown more comfortable at the hot corner. It’s unclear whether that’s still the plan, but either way, getting him back will be a big boost to their lineup.
Rendon, 24, batted .287 with a .351 on-base percentage to go along with 21 home runs and 17 stolen bases last season.
As I mentioned in the comments earlier, Andrelton Simmons slid into third base hard last night, injuring Yunel Escobar. You can watch the play here. Short version: Simmons was dead to rights, likely knew it, slid late, apparently intending to try to dislodge the ball from Escobar’s glove with his foot. He, in fact, took his whole glove off and cut Escobar’s hand, forcing him out of the game.
The Nationals are not pleased about it:
Said Bryce Harper: “Andrelton plays with a lot of energy, but that was a B.S. play. That slide was definitely uncalled for.”
Said Ian Desmond: “He really didn’t slide at all. It was a pretty ugly slide. You’ve got to be way smarter than that. There’s a right way to play the game, and that’s not the right way.”
Hard to blame them. I love Simmons — he’s probably my favorite current Brave — but it’s hard to conclude that he was trying to do anything other than dislodge the ball there. That doesn’t always lead to injury and some people laud that kind of thing as gritty or whatever, but the fact is is that when you use your cleats as a weapon, there’s a good chance you’re gonna hurt someone. We outlawed home plate collisions for the same reason.
And no, I don’t care if Ty Cobb did it. Ty Cobb was a jackass.