Via Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com …
Fresh off a week where both Jayson Werth and Denard Span returned to their lineup, the Nationals are close to getting another significant boost, as star third baseman Anthony Rendon is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment by the end of the week.
Rendon played three innings Monday in an extended spring training game and will try to play five innings on Wednesday as a final test of his injured left knee.
The 24-year-old former first-round pick was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in early March and the Nationals had been easing him back into action this month at their spring training complex in Viera, Florida.
Rendon broke out in 2014 with an .824 OPS, 21 homers, 83 RBI, 17 steals, and 111 runs scored.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.