On their day off on Wednesday, the Washington Nationals announced that they put 36-year-old, 15-year veteran Howie Kendrick on the 10-Day Injured List (retroactive to 9/6) with a left hamstring strain. Kendrick had been battling hamstring issues since mid-August, and as his manager, Davey Martinez explained yesterday, they decided not to push him any further.
“This is something that he’s been dealing with,” Martinez said.
“We were hoping it would get better. I gave him days off. It just wasn’t getting any better.
“And we felt like for his sake, we didn’t want to push the envelope anymore. Just try to see if we could give him 7-8-9 days whatever it takes for him to get ready to play again and see if we can get this thing to calm down a little bit.”
Kendrick missed five games between August 14-22, but didn’t go on the IL at that point, and he played in 11 games after that upon returning to the lineup, but had not played since Sept. 5, before the Nationals made the decision on Wednesday.
“He was playing pretty banged up. His hammy was hurting, so we thought that this would be the best thing for him and for us as well. Like I said, I’d hate for him to blow out his hammy completely and he’s done for a while, so hopefully the week, he’ll get better, he’ll start taking some swings again and we’ll get him back here.”
In 25 games and 100 plate appearances this season, Kendrick has put up a .275/.320/.385 line with four doubles and two home runs.
Martinez has handled Kendrick carefully over the last few years as he’s tried to keep the vet on the field. Is there a long-term plan to deal with these issues, since, when healthy, he has shown (see: NLDS Game 5; World Series Game 7) that he can still contribute to the team?
“It’s a lot of different ways to look at it,” Martinez said.
“I mean, if we can keep Howie and he can play 3-4 times a week, five times a week, he does a lot of good things for us.”
“He’s a pure hitter,” the manager added, “... can play some first base if needed, if the DH is still here next year obviously he could DH for us, so he needs to figure out what it’s going to take for him to prepare and be ready, and so that this doesn’t happen again.
“He’s tried a lot of different things. But he’s not willing to give up. He’s still going to try to see if he can get this right.
“It’s hard. He understands his age, but he feels like he still has something left in the tank and we believe that, so hopefully we can get him right.”