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Anthony Rendon will miss All-Star Game to heal for second half of season

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Anthony Rendon will miss All-Star Game to heal for second half of season

WASHINGTON -- Despite finally being named to the National League All-Star team for the first time in his seven-year career, Anthony Rendon will not be attending the event Tuesday in Cleveland.

Major League Baseball announced Friday that Rendon will not partake in the game. Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy will replace him. Nationals manager Davey Martinez called the conclusion an “organizational decision” in order for Rendon to rest his left quad and hamstring, which are both “tight” and have been giving him trouble for more than a month.

Rendon, Martinez and other members of the Nationals organization met pregame Friday to discuss what Rendon should do. He made news following his selection when he half-jokingly said he wasn’t going to go to Cleveland. The question of his attendance became more authentic as the week wore on before Friday’s decision.

“It’s kind of ironic, because I always joke with [the media] saying I don’t want to go and just kind of give you guys a hard time,” Rendon said. “But I am honored to be able to be chosen, especially being a player vote, that my peers have that respect for me and I appreciate it a lot.

"But since the game really doesn’t mean too much at the moment, except for personal reasons, we have bigger fish to fry here in D.C. So we’re trying to get everyone healthy and I’m a part of that as well, so I want to be a big threat for the second half.”

Rendon entered play Friday night fifth in the National League in OPS. He's already hit 20 home runs in 73 games -- his career high is 25 home runs. For the Nationals, he has been a steadying force.

"He's the one constant," Martinez said. "On and off the field, in the clubhouse, you never see him [too high] or [too low]. He's always across the board the same guy."

But, Rendon has also been playing through what Martinez continually referred to as "bumps and bruises" for weeks. A bruised elbow kept Rendon out of the lineup from April 27-May 6. Rendon was back in the lineup May 7 and has played every game since. Martinez tried to give him a day off Thursday, when first pitch was at 11:05 a.m. and utility infielder Adrian Sanchez was part of the team's five-man bench for a limited time, but Rendon, according to Martinez, said he wanted to play.

Rendon said Friday he was hurt in the series at Cincinnati, which took place May 31-June 2.

“You can go back and watch the tape. It was from one [incident],” Rendon said.

Martinez advised Rendon to not run hard to first since the problem popped up. Rendon’s lack of acceleration on the bases became more apparent as he played every day with the thigh trouble. That leg also serves as his front landing leg at the plate, though Rendon uses a minimal stride in the box.

“It's definitely feeling better,” Rendon said. “I mean, I can’t lie about that. But it's definitely not over that hump, per se. And I know if I had these next four days, it would kind of get me there and I'd be running to first base. Put it that way. And I'd be running from first to home, and kind of being the player that I need to be.”

The Nationals' third baseman is also in the final year of his contract. He and the organization have been trying to come to terms for years. Those talks have gone quiet of late.

Rendon's absence means the Nationals will have just one player, Max Scherzer, at the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland on Tuesday.

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Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

The Nationals announced their first move toward rebuilding their bullpen for the 2020 season Sunday, signing right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a major-league deal.

Finnegan, 28, became a free agent for the first time this winter after seven seasons in the Oakland Athletics’ minor-league system. The A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft out of Texas State, originally developing him as a starter until converting him into a reliever in 2016.

Oakland granted Finnegan an invite to Spring Training ahead of last season, but he never made his way onto the team’s 40-man roster. His breakout season was in 2019, when the organization asked him to lower his arm slot to generate more movement on his pitches.

Finnegan posted a 2.66 ERA with 14 saves over 42 appearances for AA-Midland and AAA-Las Vegas last year. His fastball has touched triple digits in the past but sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. His newfound success has also seen him rack up more strikeouts, as evidenced by his K/9 that jumped from 9.7 in 2018 to 12.8 in 2019.

Prior to signing with Washington, Finnegan joined the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. He has a 2.31 ERA in 14 appearances so far this winter.

The Nationals’ 40-man roster now sits at 30 with the addition of Finnegan following non-tenders of Javy Guerra and Koda Glover. It will move up to 32 once the signings of Yan Gomes and Howie Kendrick are made official. The move comes less than 12 hours before the MLB Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin in San Diego.

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The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

Only one player in the major leagues threw a pitch while over the age of 40 last season. Fernando Rodney, who in fact is 42 and coming off his first ever World Series title, has appeared in at least 50 games each of the last eight years and 10 of the last 11.

For a player who’s three years older than the second-oldest active pitcher, taking the offseason off wouldn’t just be expected—it’d probably be recommended. But Rodney is taking no such break, reportedly signing up for the Dominican Winter League this offseason.

Leones del Escogido plays in his hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This will actually be the fifth time Rodney will suit up for the team, most recently doing so last winter.

Rodney is a free agent after being picked up by the Nationals midseason. He’s played 17 years in the majors and ranks 17th all-time in saves with 327.

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