Anthony Rendon’s knee is still sore, Opening Day status in doubt

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Anthony Rendon’s left knee remains sore two full weeks after suffering a sprained MCL that the Nationals initially thought would be a 2-3 day injury.

James Wagner of the Washington Post writes that the Nationals plan to give the All-Star third baseman more rest, but there’s no official timetable for his return and “Rendon may run out of time to be ready for Opening Day.”

Rendon played 153 games last year in his first full season, replacing Ryan Zimmerman as the Nationals’ everyday third baseman and emerging as one of the league’s best all-around players by hitting .287 with 21 homers, 17 steals, and an .824 OPS to go with stellar defense at age 24.

Robinson Canó benched for lack of hustle

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Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is not in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the division rival Nationals. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, it’s punishment for failing to run hard on a pair of double plays over the weekend against the Marlins.

Manager Mickey Callaway said, “He understands that it’s unacceptable to not run balls out. He understands that he needs to do that at all times.”

Canó first gaffe came in the top of the seventh inning on Friday, with his team trailing 7-3. Facing Adam Conley, Canó hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Canó was only halfway up the first base line when the throw got to first base.

In the fourth inning on Sunday, with the game still scoreless, Canó tapped a Sandy Alcantara pitch in the dirt. Thinking it was foul, Canó didn’t run, but catcher Chad Wallach charged and grabbed the ball while it was still in fair territory. He threw to second base for the force out and then the ball was easily whipped to first base to complete the double play as Canó still thought it was foul.

This likely wouldn’t be as big a deal as it currently is if Canó were actually producing at the plate and if the Mets weren’t in a freefall. Canó has a .245/.293/.374 batting line on the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-25 and riding a five-game losing streak which includes having been shut out in each of their last two games.