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Nationals Injury Update: Howie Kendrick left today’s game with left hamstring strain...

Howie Kendrick was hustling to first base on an RBI infield single this afternoon when he injured his left hamstring and left the game.

MLB: Washington Nationals-Media Day Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Martinez talked early this Spring about what the Washington Nationals missed when Howie Kendrick went down with a season-ending achilles injury last May. Kendrick had put up a .303/.331/.474 line, 14 doubles, and four home runs in 40 games and 160 trips to the plate to that point, but more than his bat (and glove), his absence from the clubhouse over the remainder of the season was a big blow to the 2018 Nats.

“When Howie was available and playing every day he was doing really well,” Martinez said.

“I could hit him anywhere in the lineup. Played him at second, at first, the outfield, he was doing really well. But what people don’t realize is that Howie in that clubhouse is the constant. He’s a guy where if he thinks something is not right or you didn’t do this or you didn’t do that, he’d be the guy to say, ‘Hey, let’s go. You’ve got to run the balls out. Let’s go.’ Or if he sees somebody down, he pats them on the back, ‘Hey, c’mon man, you’re alright, let’s go. We’ll get this done.’ But he was that constant guy.

“When he got hurt, you miss a guy like that being around, and he’s just a great guy to be around in general.

“He understands the game, and knows the game, if you watch him play he does the little things. He doesn’t pull the ball, per se, but he knows how to move guys over, he puts the ball in play with a guy on third base, all the little things you ask him to do, he does it and does it well.”

Kendrick arrived in camp ready to go after a long rehab process, and showed no signs of an issue until the third inning of today’s game, when he pulled up lame running out a weak, RBI infield hit.

Clearly frustrated, Kendrick left the game at that point, slamming his helmet once he got to the dugout.

In a rare mid-game injury announcement by the Nationals, they told reporters in West Palm Beach that it was a left hamstring strain for Kendrick. So at least it’s not the achilles again.

No word yet on how long Kendrick may be out, but the Nats, who said all winter they were happy going with Kendrick and Wilmer Difo at second base before signing Brian Dozier to play the position, do have options on the roster should the veteran miss significant time.