The good news for Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is that all three doctors who examined his injured left knee agreed that it was “only” a sprained MCL.
The bad news is that he’ll begin the season on the disabled list and there’s no official timetable yet for his return to the active roster.
Rendon injured the knee on March 9 and the Nationals initially expected him to miss just a few days. Danny Espinosa figures to replace him in the lineup and the Nationals will also be without center fielder Denard Span and left fielder Jayson Werth early on.
The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.
Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.
Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.