WASHINGTON. D.C. - Dusty Baker returned to a chilly, wet nation’s capital and met with reporters this morning in advance of the Washington Nationals’ exhibition game with Boston’s Red Sox, which is in jeopardy due to the rain. Baker, who’s starting his second season in D.C., talked about a variety of topics this morning, including the decision to name Blake Treinen the closer, what roster decisions remain, and he updated reporters on the health of Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Rendon, 26, is coming off a .270/.348/.450, 38 double, 20 HR, 112 wRC+, 4.7 fWAR campaign, which saw him play in 156 games for the Nationals and make 647 plate appearances.
He is currently dealing with a leg injury, a deep bruise to his left calf caused by a foul ball late in Grapefruit League action.
Though he traveled with the Nationals to Ft. Myers, FL for the final game of the Spring on Thursday, Baker said today that Rendon is not able to do much right now.
“He’s doing so-so,” Baker explained. “He’s not playing today. We hoped that he would but he’s not ready.”
“Will he be ready for Opening Day?” a reporter asked.
“Man, I don’t know,” Baker said. “You guys want me to have that crystal ball, I don’t know, we’ll see. He’s day-to-day.”
Asked what he was able to do at this point, Baker said succinctly, “Not much.”
“Like I said,” he added, “he’s doing so-so. Can’t tell you what — because the opposition don’t need to know, this ain’t football. You don’t have to disclose everything.”
Rendon injured the leg on Monday, and hasn’t played since, though he told reporters, including MLB.com’s Jamal Collier, that he felt better on Tuesday.
Stephen Drew or Wilmer Difo (if he makes the Opening Day roster) could fill in for Rendon at third if he’s not ready for the season opener on Monday.
Baker said there were still had some roster decisions to make outside of who will be in the starting lineup against the Miami Marlins, and it wasn’t all up to him.
“No. 1, it’s ‘we’, it’s not [me],” Baker explained when asked about the decision-making process.
“We’re still kicking around things, trying to figure out how to maximize our roster and how to maximize our bench, how to maximize our pitching staff, to start the season.”
The Nationals have until Monday to make the next decisions on the roster. The health of players like Rendon and others dealing with nagging injuries could factor into those last-minute decisions.