If there was any mystery to it really after Anthony Rendon spent the majority of his time during his rehab stint playing second base, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo spoke openly about the plans for where the 24-year-old infielder would play upon his return to the majors when he spoke to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier earlier today:
Mike Rizzo: "I'd anticipate Anthony beginning his stint w/ us to play more 2nd base then 3rd." Rendon at 2B, Escobar at 3B. #GrantAndDanny.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 4, 2015
The Nationals acquired Yunel Escobar, who'd played short throughout most of his major league career before this season, with the intention of having him play second base since Rendon performed so well at third in 2014 after taking over there with Ryan Zimmerman in and out of the lineup all year with injuries.
When Rendon went down with an MCL sprain this Spring, however, Escobar was shifted to third base with Danny Espinosa getting most of the time at second.
After going 4 for 18 in his latest round of rehab games, which followed an oblique strain suffered while working back from the knee injury, Rendon was called back up to the majors today, and he's expected to make his 2015 debut tonight in the Nationals' series opener with the Chicago Cubs in the nation's capital.
The Nationals announced his return on Twitter within the last half an hour:
In 153 games and 683 plate appearances last season, in his first full major league season, the 24-year-old infielder, who'll turn 25 in two days, put up a .287/.351/.473 line with 39 doubles and 21 HRs in a +6.5 fWAR campaign.
As we wrote earlier in anticipation of his return to the majors, Matt Williams spoke last night about what Rendon brings to the lineup:
"It makes us longer, certainly," Williams said. "And the way he played last year, the kind of hitter he is, he does a lot of things well for us. So it makes us longer, it gives us good on-base percentage, it gives us a guy that can hit the ball the other way well, he can move the baseball, he's got some power, we all know that, so whenever that is he'll certainly help us."
The Nationals also recalled right-hander A.J. Cole from Triple-A Syracuse today, and in order to make room on the roster for the two additions, optioned infielder Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg and starter Taylor Jordan (who faced the Toronto Blue Jays last night) to Triple-A Syracuse.