Now that Ryan Zimmerman is ready to come off the disabled list the Nationals are sending 22-year-old Anthony Rendon back to the minors.
Rendon started eight games at third base in place of Zimmerman and got on base at a .367 clip despite showing little power. Because of injuries Rendon played a grand total of just 57 games in the minors before getting his first taste of the majors, but the former No. 6 overall pick looks just about MLB-ready.
The problem is that he’s a third baseman and Zimmerman is signed through 2019. Rendon has also seen a little action at second base, but it’s unclear if the Nationals would trust him defensively as a regular there and they also have a solid enough starter at the position in 26-year-old Danny Espinosa.
But if Zimmerman stays healthy and the Nationals don’t trade Rendon, where does he fit into their plans? Rendon hit .292 with a .454 on-base percentage in 13 games at Double-A before being summoned to fill in for Zimmerman and Espinosa is off to a brutal, .173-hitting start, so maybe the dots aren’t that difficult to connect.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.