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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