Anthony Rendon missed 19 games with what he later revealed was a hairline fracture of the big toe on his left foot. He went on the Disabled List with a .286/.355/.411 line over 62 plate appearances, and struggled to get up to speed when he returned, posting a .208/.323/.434 line in his first 15 games and 62 PAs back in the Nationals’ lineup, but over the last 12, he has picked things up, with a .313/.358/.583 line in 53 PAs over that stretch.
Rendon, who turned 28 on Wednesday, celebrated with a four-hit game against the Tampa Bay Rays, going 4 for 5 with two doubles and three RBIs in Washington’s 11-2 win at home.
“I look at him and for me he’s the constant,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters when asked about Rendon rounding into form in recent weeks.
“He’s the guy that goes out there every day and helps us win ballgames every day,” Martinez said, “... so it’s just a matter of time before he gets his hits. I mean, he didn’t get any hits, but he was hitting the ball pretty decent. He had a good day today and I hope that he continues to do that when we get back off the day off.”
On the season, the Nationals’ third baseman has a .268/.345/.471 line with 14 doubles, six home runs, 19 walks, and 28 Ks in 41 games and 177 PAs, over which he’s been worth 1.1 fWAR.
That’s not too far off Rendon’s career .279/.357/.456 line. GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday, he believed in “back of the baseball card” thinking, and hopes that some of the struggling Nationals will begin to put up the numbers they’ve averaged in their careers.
“When I know .290 career hitters are hitting .230,” Rizzo said, “I think there are a lot of hits coming in the near future ... and the same way if a guy is hitting .350 and he’s a .250 hitter, then there is going to be a lull. I do, I believe in track record. When players are healthy I believe in track record. Hitters hit. Big leaguers are big leaguers, and I think that’s how we have to attack when we’re having our roster construction discussions, is what type of players — we have to forecast and project what kind of seasons we think these players are going to have and I think that’s an important part of our process.”
The Nationals have some tough roster questions coming over the next few weeks, as a few of their injured players start to make their way back, but for now, Martinez is going to work with what he has available.