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Washington Nationals’ Anthony Rendon day-to-day as Nats hope he avoids IL stint...

Anthony Rendon took a fastball off the elbow on Saturday night, and sat out of Sunday’s finale in Miami, but the Nats are hoping he can avoid an IL stint...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Rendon stayed in the game to run the bases after taking a 96 MPH fastball from Miami Marlins’ Jose Ureña off his exposed left elbow in the third inning on Saturday night.

Rendon, 28, ended up scoring later in the inning, but he didn’t return to third base in the bottom of the inning after the elbow tightened up on him while he was on the basepaths.

“Well, I figured I would at least be able to run, it didn’t hit my leg, so I didn’t want to come out just because I got hit in the arm,” Rendon explained after what ended up a 9-3 loss to the Marlins on Saturday, “but obviously it got tighter and tighter as the inning progressed, and once I knew — I got to second base I was like, ‘It’s not getting better.’

“‘It’s just slowly getting worse,’ so I figured I was going to come out.”

Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez expressed optimism on Saturday that Rendon would be able to avoid a stint on the Injured List when he spoke to reporters after the game.

“X-rays were negative,” Martinez said. “He’s just got a contusion, so we’ll wait overnight and see how he feels tomorrow.”

When the lineup for the finale with the Fish was posted, Rendon’s name wasn’t listed, but the second-year skipper said he made the decision the previous night, while adding that the thinking was still that the third baseman would hopefully avoid a trip to the IL.

“He’s pretty stiff today,” Martinez said on Sunday. “He’s got a little swelling still in the elbow, so we don’t want to push it, we just want him to get right.”

“I figured he was going to be stiff today,” the manager explained, “so I even told him last night he wasn’t going to play. We’ll see how he feels throughout the day today and then we’ll go from there.”

“He says he feels better than he did after last night,” Martinez added, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.

“But we knew he’d be stiff, so we’ll see. He’s going to get treatment all day today. We’ll see where he’s at after [the game].”

Rendon had a 17-game hit streak end when he exited Saturday’s game after two at bats.

Overall on the season, the Nationals’ 2011 1st Round pick has a .371/.451/.771 line with 10 doubles, six home runs, nine walks, and 14 Ks in 82 plate appearances this season.

Missing Rendon for any significant length of time, while Trea Turner (broken finger) is out and still not expected back for a few weeks would be a big blow to the Nationals, though Howie Kendrick performed admirably at third base in his absence on Sunday.

“Howie,” Martinez told reporters after Sunday’s 5-0 win, “we talk about — he hardly ever plays third base, Rendon is missing, he drives in a run and he plays really good third base today for us and that’s huge too.”

Will the Nationals have to rely on Kendrick in the series opener in Colorado tonight as well?