In the future, more players will be in the best shape of their lives

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a story about how the Pirates are going to emphasize offseason conditioning for their players this year.  In linking it, Buster Olney makes a good point that, while probably obvious, isn’t something we hear too much about over the winter:

You’ll be hearing this kind of thing more and more; teams are becoming increasingly active in insisting and ensuring that their players show up to spring training in shape, to improve the chances that they get proper return for their financial investment.

Good point. The very fact that we have “best shape of his life stories” are because it’s not necessarily the case that guys actually, you know, keep in shape over the winter.  Most do, but based on the kinds of stories you hear about heading into spring training, one gets the sense that there is room for improvement and that those who do improve will realize some small advantage because of it.

Howie Kendrick to undergo an MRI after exiting game with a serious leg injury

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Update, 7:49 PM ET: The Nationals placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right Achilles injury. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Double-A Potomac.

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Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick was removed from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers after injuring his right leg. In the eighth inning, Kendrick tracked a Max Muncy sac fly to the wall, but landed strangely on his right leg and fell to the ground. Unable to put weight on it, he was forced to exit the field on a cart and was sent to undergo an MRI soon afterward, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

While the Nationals have not specified the nature or severity of Kendrick’s injury, Martinez revealed that it’s located in the “lower part” of the outfielder’s leg and appears to be quite severe. He’ll likely be placed on the 10-day disabled list in the next couple of days, though the recovery process could take even longer.

Prior to the incident, Kendrick was off to a hot start this season. Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, he carried a batting line of .302/.331/.477 with 18 extra-base hits and an .808 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 on Saturday with a base hit in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson subbed in for Kendrick following the injury and has been tabbed to start in left field for the second game of the doubleheader at 8:05 PM ET.