Howie Kendrick was as excited about the trade that brought him to Washington as the Nationals were to add the veteran infielder/outfielder to the mix.
“I’ve been a fan of Dusty [Baker’s] for a long time,” Kendrick told reporters after the deal that brought him to the Nats and sent minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills and international bonus slot money to the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I’ve always admired [him] from afar, love the way he manages, and just been a fan of the Nationals too. It’s really cool to be able to come here, it’s probably one of my favorite cities in the United States.”
In four games since joining the Nats, and after a 5 for 5 night against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, Kendrick is 7 for 15 with two doubles and a home run.
“He can hit,” Baker said after the Nationals’ 7-6 loss to the Marlins last night, in which Kendrick hit second in the lineup.
“That wasn’t a secret when we got him, and he’s perfect in that spot. He gives us a guy that can hit the ball to all fields, and he runs well, so that was a big day, it was lost in the shuffle, but after the second or third inning, he was kind our whole offense until the ninth and he was part of that too, so it was a great night for him and I’m sure he would have taken one less hit and us win the game.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked this morning on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies about what the addition of Kendrick can mean now and once the Nationals get some of their injured infielders and outfielders back.
“I’ve loved Howie Kendrick for years,” Rizzo said. “When he became a free agent after the Angels days, we kicked the tires on him. His agent I know very well, Larry Reynolds, and what a professional player and great person and he’s one of the most respected major leaguers that I’ve been around.
“When we had this rash of injuries, when Trea Turner went down, and then Stephen Drew went down, and we kind of knew that he was going to go on the DL about two or three days before we put him on the DL, and it gave us a little opportunity to explore some guys that could help us, mostly right-handed bats that could help us in the infield and outfield, and Howie kind of checked off a lot of those boxes.
“[He] can play some infield, he plays third, he’s a terrific second baseman, that’s his natural position, and he’s really turned himself into a good left fielder, and a guy that can play every day when you need him to for long periods of time, but hopefully when we get our team assembled again, after the injuries are healed, he becomes a real force off the [bench] with Adam Lind and the rest of those guys.”
While the Nationals wait to get their injured players back, Kendrick has started three of the last four games, and after his five-hit game last night in Miami, he’s penciled back in at the No. 2 spot and playing second for the series finale with the Marlins...
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE SERIES FINALE WITH THE FISH:
#Nats at #Marlins 3 of 3 [No Murphy]: Goodwin CF, Kendrick 2B, Harper RF, Zimmerman 1B, Lind LF, Rendon 3B, Difo SS, Lobaton C, Cole P— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 2, 2017
NOTE: No Daniel Murphy in the lineup? No word on any issues for Murphy that I’ve seen/read, or if it’s just a day off, but someone is bound to ask Baker about Murphy’s absence in his pregame presser this afternoon, will update if there’s any info...