Marlins “expected to make strong push” for Yoenis Cespedes

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Now that Yoenis Cespedes has established residency in the Dominican Republic his long-awaited free agency should be right around the corner and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins “are expected to make a strong push” for the Cuban defector.

They’ll have plenty of competition, although Cespedes’ poor showing in the Dominican winter league may have exposed some sizable flaws in the 26-year-old outfielder’s game. He went 5-for-35 (.143) with 10 strikeouts and zero walks before calling it quits.

Cespedes said previously that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians were the six teams showing the most interest and Frisaro believes Miami’s “strong Cuban community” could help the Marlins’ case. That and a huge contract, of course.

UPDATE: Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com contradicts Frisaro, reporting that Cespedes “has told teams he would prefer not to play in Miami.”

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.