Anthony Rendon goes back on the Nationals’ disabled list

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Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon, who missed the first two months of the season with knee and oblique injuries, is headed back to the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps muscle.

Rendon played 18 games between the DL stints, hitting .290 with zero homers and a .737 OPS while splitting time between second base and third base defensively. Last season he played 157 of 162 games, leading the league in runs scored and finishing fifth in the MVP balloting.

He joins left fielder Jayson Werth, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, and backup outfielders Nate McLouth and Reed Johnson on the Nationals’ disabled list, forcing manager Matt Williams to put together a patchwork lineup that will once again likely include plenty of playing time for Danny Espinosa.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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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.