WASHINGTON -- Finally, the Nationals have placed third baseman Anthony Rendon on the injured list.
Rendon was sent to the 10-day IL on Tuesday afternoon. Left-handed reliever Dan Jennings was called up from Double-A Harrisburg to take Rendon’s 25-man roster spot. To make room for Jennings on the 40-man roster, the Nationals designated reliever Austin Adams for assignment.
Currently on the injured list for Washington: Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman, Trevor Rosenthal and Rendon.
Rendon was hit in the left elbow by a pitch April 20 in Miami, producing a significant bruise. He took three at-bats since. The Nationals had multiple chances to put him on the injured list, but chose to keep him on the bench, even when unavailable. The main problem for Rendon is extension on his swing. Bending his arm toward his body was OK. Finishing a swing was not.
Tuesday was the last day the Nationals could set Rendon’s time on the injured list retroactively to April 27, which they did. If they waited another day, the three-day retroactive window would have expired.
“When he got hit with the pitch there in Miami, we felt that after the x-rays and all the testing by the orthopedics and the doctors and the trainers, we thought that he sustained a bone bruise,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “It swelled up pretty good that night but as time went on in Colorado the swelling went down and with compression and treatment we felt that he was progressing normally and progressing well.
"He progressed to the point where our off day on Thursday, he took some swings down in the cage and he felt that he was game ready. We played him Friday. It fired back up on him, then we had an MRI, aspirated some fluid that was in the elbow, and then we figured that probably time to back date him to Saturday and take our time with this and really treat it for the long term instead of just trying to get him ready for within those 10 days.”
Regardless, they end up with Rendon missing a minimum of 16 days -- and 15 games -- to produce just three at-bats, while also leaving the bench short-handed throughout. The lone argument for keeping Rendon on the bench during this period is to put doubt in the opposing manager’s mind -- even if it was slight. San Diego manager Andy Green admitted last Saturday he did not bring in a left-handed reliever to face Matt Adams in case Rendon would then pinch-hit. Sunday, Green repeated the strategy though it was clear Rendon was unavailable. Adams hit a walkoff home run.
Jennings made three appearances for Harrisburg, producing a 2.45 ERA. He previously pitched for Miami, Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee during his seven-year career. Jennings has a career ERA of 2.96, and hops into a bullpen with the league’s 29th-ranked ERA.
“I pitch every day,” Jennings said. “I think the most upsetting thing about being late to the season -- I think I led the majors in appearances the last two years. That's something I took pride in. I'm always ready every day. Managers that had me in the past knew they never had to ask because I wasn't going to shy away from taking the ball and they basically have to rip it out of my hand once I am out there. I love to pitch....I can't even fathom a quote unquote day off.”
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