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Anthony Rendon again lands on the disabled list


Anthony Rendon again lands on the disabled list

Updated at 6:33 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — Just when it looked like Anthony Rendon was finding his groove at the plate, the Nationals’ dynamic infielder finds himself back in an all-too-familiar place: the disabled list.

Rendon was placed on the 15-day DL Friday with a strained left quadriceps muscle, the latest physical ailment to derail his season. The Nationals purchased the contract of infielder (and D.C. native) Emmanuel Burriss to take Rendon’s spot on the active roster, with outfielder Reed Johnson transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the organization’s 40-man roster for Burriss.

Rendon’s latest placement on the DL comes with the Nationals’ lineup in a state of disarray. Bryce Harper (right hamstring) and Denard Span (back spasms) each were held out of Friday night’s series opener against the Phillies, with Jayson Werth (fractured wrist) and Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) already on the DL.

The Nationals decided to make the move with Rendon six days after he initially hurt his left thigh while running out a double during the sixth inning of Max Scherzer’s no-hitter against the Pirates. Rendon said he didn’t want to leave that game, given the historic nature of what was taking place but also because he didn’t think the strain was serious at the time.

“I wasn’t going to come out during that deal,” he said. “It would’ve been bad on my part. So I stayed in. … I was just thinking: It happened to me before. It felt different, but I’ll probably just roll it out. That’s why I kept playing the next couple days. You all probably saw I was favoring it a little bit.”

Indeed, Rendon didn’t look 100 percent for several days, mostly in the field, where he was unable to reach a few hard-hit grounders at second base. He said the injury doesn’t bother him while hitting, though, so he’ll be able to continue swinging even while on the DL and try to maintain the recent groove he found at the plate (he had eight hits in his last 15 at-bats).

This is Rendon’s third significant injury of the season; he opened the year on the DL with a sprained left knee, then strained his left oblique muscle while on a minor-league rehab assignment. All told, he has played in only 18 games this year, a significant blow to the Nationals.

“They’re isolated,” manager Matt Williams said of Rendon’s injuries. “It’s not anything we can put a finger on. And I don’t know if anybody could. It’s just a question of getting him healthy and getting him back. We certainly want him post All-Star break to be ready to go and continue the rest of the season.”

The Nationals might be able to withstand Rendon’s absence if they can keep the rest of their lineup intact. That wasn’t the case Friday night, with both Harper and Span sidelined with nagging ailments.

Harper was held out for the second straight day with a strained right hamstring, suffered when the star outfielder legged out an 11th-inning double Wednesday night against the Braves. Harper did receive an MRI, which Williams said came back “pretty good,” but the club won’t rush the 22-year-old slugger back before he’s ready.

“He’s better today,” Williams said. “It’s still a little tight. We’ll keep him out at least another day, make sure he’s good to go when he gets back out there. We don’t want to take any chances, for sure.”

Span, meanwhile, was in the original lineup Friday but was scratched when the back spasms that plagued him earlier this month reoccurred during batting practice.

Rendon’s DL stint did open the door for Burriss to return to a major-league roster for the first time since 2012, when he played for the Giants. This call-up is particularly significant for the 30-year-old infielder, both because he has spent the last three seasons in the minors but also because he now gets to play for his hometown club.

A Washington native and Wilson High School alum, Burriss is the first product of the D.C. public school system to reach the big leagues since Dodgers legend Maury Wills.

“It’s huge,” said Burriss, who was hitting .278 with a .354 on-base percentage at Syracuse. “Being in D.C., being with the Nationals, is big. I think anybody wants to play close to home. Me still having family, me still living in D.C. in the offseason, is a big reason that I was so excited to sign back with the Nationals this offseason after playing the full year at Triple-A. … To actually be here with the Nationals and be going home, it’s great.”

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The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years


The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years

On Monday, in the middle of their game with the Yankees, Mike Rizzo did a very Mike Rizzo thing and added another strong arm to the Nationals' bullpen well before the trade deadline.

In a trade with the Kansas City Royals, the Nats dealt prospects Kelvin Gutierrez, Blake Perkins and Yohanse Morel for relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera.

Herrera, who's in his eighth season, has walked only two batters in the last 27 games and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. 

"We just thought that it was a good idea to strike early," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"We thought the closer to the deadline we get, the more competition we'll have for Kelvin [Herrera]. We were able to strike a deal with Dayton Moore quickly and [we] couldn't be happier about it."

But Mike Rizzo didn't just come across Herrera by chance, he's had his sights on him for years.

"He was one of the guys that we kind of kicked the tires on [last year] and obviously the price for Kelvin at that time with a year and a half of control was a lot different than it was with four and a half months of control."

"We did have our eyes on him for years. He's been a great reliever for years. He's one of the guys we talked about when we talked about improving our bullpen." 

Herrera has spent all of his eight seasons in the big leagues with the Royals, even winning a World Series. Trades can bring both joy and angst, but Rizzo knows Herrera is excited to get back to playing meaningful baseball.

"This guy is such a competitor; World Series tested and playoff tested. He's happy to be playing meaningful games. He talked about what it takes to win a World Series, and you know, our guys were all ears. I think he's really thankful for getting the opportunity to get after it again and get another ring."

"At the same time, you know, it's hard for those old relationship to die and to move on, but he was very excited about being with us. I spoke to him after we made the trade and he [was] a little shocked, but really fired up about it. And when he got to the clubhouse, [he] met some of his old teammates - Timmy Collins and Ryan Madson -  and was welcome with open arms by not only the bullpen guys but everyone on the team." 

Herrera will join Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler, and Ryan Madson to make about as deep of a bullpen as any in baseball right now.


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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles


Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

WASHINGTON -- Presented with identical opportunities to ring up a big inning, the Washington Nationals took full advantage and Baltimore Orioles squandered the chance.

That goes a long way toward explaining why the Nationals are a contender and the Orioles own the worst record in the big leagues.

Trea Turner went 4 for 4 with a homer , Anthony Rendon drove in three runs and Washington extended its recent domination of the Orioles with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.

The game was essentially decided in the fifth inning, which began with Baltimore leading 4-1.

In the top half, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and scored only one run -- when Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Washington loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half and batted around, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Adam Eaton contributed a two-run single, Rendon hit a sacrifice fly and Bryce Harper chased starter David Hess with an RBI double.

"They did a lot better job cashing in their bases loaded, nobody out situation than we did," Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded.

For the game, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were 5 for 10.

"This team is starting to become relentless," manager Dave Martinez said. "They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, had a couple of big innings there and scored some runs."

The Nationals trailed 6-5 before getting six hits in a four-run seventh. Rendon delivered a two-run double off Tanner Scott (0-1) that made it 7-6, and Turner capped his four-hit night with a double.

Both teams noted that more than a couple of Washington's hits were bloopers and seeing-eye grounders, but the Nationals certainly weren't about to apologize.

"I feel like all year we've been hitting balls right at people," Turner said, "so it's nice to get a bunch of those in one game and come out with a win."

Washington has won six straight over its neighboring interleague rival, including four games this season by a combined 20-8.

Pitching in his second big league game, Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.

Justin Miller (5-0) pitched two innings of relief, newcomer Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth and Sean Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Joey Rickard while earning his 19th save.

Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini each hit two-run homers for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19.

This one can be blamed on an all-too-telling fifth inning.

"It's just one of those things where if they got hits they seemed to have found holes," Showalter said. "They hit some balls hard, too."