Anthony Rendon is in the lineup tonight after sitting out of the season opener on Monday.
Dusty Baker told reporters on Monday morning that Rendon, who fouled a pitch off his left calf late in Spring Training, sat out of the final few Grapefruit League games and missed last weekend’s exhibition in Annapolis, could have gone in the season opener.
Baker, however, made a decision to get Rendon a little more rest.
“He’s doing better, he’s doing a lot better,” Baker said.
“He could have played if I had wanted to push him, but I decided not to since we’re off tomorrow, so he could be available to pinch hit or something late in the game.
“It was my decision. He wanted to go. And after kind of much deliberation and thought in my office, I decided it would be best if he didn’t.”
Rendon, 26, went 12 for 48 in Grapefruit League action this Spring (.250/.368/.417), with five doubles, a HR, six walks and five Ks in 22 games.
He’s coming off a .270/.348/.450, 38 double, 20 HR, 112 wRC+, 4.7 fWAR campaign in the nation’s capital in which he played 156 games and made 647 plate appearances.
The bounce back season came after a down year in 2015 in which he was limited by a knee injury (MCL sprain) suffered early in Spring Training and oblique and quad issues.
Last weekend, Baker said that he was taking a cautious approach with Rendon, though he didn’t expect the third baseman to miss much time.
“We’d rather have him miss Opening Day possibly, then we have the day off after that and be ready to the next day than take a chance and then miss ten days or two weeks.”
When the lineup for tonight’s matchup with the Miami Marlins was released, Rendon’s name was penciled in as Baker suggested it might be.
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s game: