Anthony Rendon begins minor league rehab assignment

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Good news here for the Nationals, as third baseman Anthony Rendon began a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg last night as he works his way back from a medial collateral ligament sprain in his left knee.

Rendon, who hurt his knee on a diving play in early March, played five innings at third base last night and went 1-for-2 with a double. He told James Wagner of the Washington Post that the pain is gone in his knee and he’s now trying to shake the rust and make up for lost time.

“Everything is good,” he said. “Getting back into the swing of things and trying to feel comfortable.”

Rendon will play seven innings today before getting the day off Sunday. He’ll then play seven innings again before staying in for a full game. He could be ready to join the Nationals for the start of a four-game series against the Mets next Thursday at Citi Field.

The Nationals weren’t at full strength to begin the year and have sputtered to a 7-10 start, but getting Rendon back in the lineup will be a big lift. While he didn’t get as much attention as he deserved, he proved to be the team’s most valuable player last season by batting .287/.351/.473 with 21 home runs, 83 RBI, and 17 stolen bases.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.