Anthony Rendon’s return from a left knee sprain hit a snag this week due to some tightness in his side, but he could resume his minor league rehab assignment as soon as tomorrow.
Nationals manager Matt Williams said that Rendon went through a full workout today. Assuming he feels good tomorrow, he’ll return to the lineup with Double-A Harrisburg for the first time since last Saturday. The Nationals were originally hoping that Rendon would be ready to make his season debut during this weekend’s four-game series against the Mets, but he’ll likely spend a few more days in the minors to get back into the swing of things.
The Nationals were talking about potentially having Rendon split time between second base and third base upon his return, as Yunel Escobar has grown more comfortable at the hot corner. It’s unclear whether that’s still the plan, but either way, getting him back will be a big boost to their lineup.
Rendon, 24, batted .287 with a .351 on-base percentage to go along with 21 home runs and 17 stolen bases last season.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.