Howie Kendrick wants to play again this season. Kendrick struggled with a hamstring issue for a month, before the 37-year-old, 15-year veteran landed on the 10-Day Injured List back on September 9th (retroactive to 9/6) with a left hamstring strain.
He kept pressing though, and testing the hamstring in the hopes that he could get back on the field, after putting up a .275/.320/.385 line with four doubles and two home runs over a total of 100 plate appearances in his fourth season in the nation’s capital.
It might not be in the cards, however.
“I talked to Howie yesterday, and he ran again, and he’s at basically a stalemate right now,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters before the first game of the doubleheader with the Phillies in D.C. on Tuesday afternoon.
“He gets to a certain point and he can’t really get to that next level,” Martinez explained.
While he would love to have Kendrick back in the lineup over the last few games of the 2020 campaign, Martinez said that they didn’t want to push the envelope and make the issue worse.
“I told him, I said, we’re going to just take it easy. I mean, he’s trying to come back, he’s trying to play, I just don’t want him to go home with this thing getting worse.”
Kendrick missed time in mid-August when the issue first cropped up, and his availability was day-to-day for a while before he went on the IL, but Martinez said he wants to avoid having a late-season injury that has to be dealt with over the winter.
“I want him to feel good about himself. So we’ll see where we’re at. He’s definitely pushing to want to come back and at least DH one game and play or do something, but we’ll see how he feels in the next couple days,” the third-year skipper said.
“He gets to a certain point and he just can’t get over that hump right now.”
Martinez said recently that he thought there could be a role for Kendrick in the future, if the designated hitter is back in the National League next season after they adopted it in both of the leagues during this pandemic campaign.
“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,” Martinez told reporters. “As you know, he’s a pure hitter, 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.”
Has he had that discussion about the future with Kendrick? Or are they just focused now on getting him healthy?
“We’re worried about the hamstring issue,” Martinez said.
“I’m going to talk to him and see what his thought are. I’ve talked to him once before, and he wants to play again, he wants to be healthy, so we’ll see what happens. I’m more — right now I want him to feel good about leaving here and knowing what he needs to do when he gets back home. That’s my biggest concern.
“A healthy Howie, obviously you know what he can do, he can hit, and he’s actually done really well at first base for us, so, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with the DH next year, if we do have a DH, Howie would be quite interesting in that role.”