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UPDATE: Rendon to DL, Harper and Span out again

Jun 26, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT

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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.”

  1. stoatva - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    Well, dang.

  2. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    OK, Manny Two-bags, your work is cut out for you.

    • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:40 PM

      I bet he gets the same amount of work as Difo did.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:10 PM

        Which is why they’re calling up Burriss instead of Difo or Turner. The latter two are actual prospects and need to be playing every day. Burriss, not so much. He’s pretty much the living embodiment of the 25th guy on a major league roster – and only edges onto the 25th spot of a contender’s roster due to a wave of injuries.

        Burriss is a good story as a DC native, and I certainly wish him well. But boy, I hope he doesn’t have to play in any high leverage situations.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:22 PM

        +1, therealjohnc. Or if he does play in such a situation, solely as a pinch runner or defensive replacement.

      • thelatencn - Jun 26, 2015 at 5:15 PM

        Also, John C, methinks the organization wants Turner and Difo to play together as much as possible so that when they get to be our dp combination, they know each other backwards and forwards.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jun 26, 2015 at 6:06 PM

        Won’t it be kind of hard for them to play together with Turner being in Syracuse and Difo in Harrisburg?

  3. unkyd59 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    Prolly a good decision. 15 days will (touching wood, here) be time enough to stretch out that quad… But I sure do like to see him following Denard….sigh

    • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:43 PM

      Probaly only needs 5 to 10 days. Anthony wasnt running well, wasnt getting to balls where he had to bend. Retroactive to yesterday so will be able to come back 2 weeks from today.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:59 PM

      Oops on the report comment!

  4. masterfishkeeper - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    Cue the complaints about the Nats’ medical staff in 5 4 3 2 1

    • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:43 PM

      No, this one is on the Nats conditioning staff 😉

      • rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:16 PM

        Makes a lot of sense to have an injury prone all star caliber player taking sliding shots playing second.Look at Danny the shots he takes but is almost indestructible.Rendon is not.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:21 PM

        That was part of the discussion on Rendon since before he was drafted — do you put a guy at second who has a history of ankle/leg injuries? I think they are keeping him there for now and crossing their fingers he doesn’t get hurt, while Escobar stays at third because he hasn’t had a chance to get settled at second, and they can’t afford to have both of them getting hurt.

      • rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:25 PM

        If that is the logic that is insanity.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:27 PM

        You would put him at third, and Escobar at short, and Espinosa at second, am I right?

      • rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:40 PM

        Rendon third,Desi ss,Esco second which is why we traded for him.

  5. masterfishkeeper - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    So Espinosa will be only at 2B, except in case of emergency, I’d think. Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson get all the work at 1B. Hope Harper is playing tonight.

  6. bowdenball - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    If anyone needs a positive spin on this, here’s one: if Rendon returns after 15 days he will have missed only 13 games. He can then DH in Baltimore and then continue to rest his quad over the all-star break. Ultimately the Nats get him off his feet and allow him to rest his quad for more than three full weeks while only losing his bat for 13 games, one of which they’ve already won.

    • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      Good way to look at it. Im not concerned. When he couldnt bend for grounders hit a few feet away it was prudent to pull him.

  7. manassasnatsfan - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:48 PM

    His hitting was picking up but we could tell his field coverage was suffering.

    Hopefully 10 days rest works.

    I would say this was a pregame stretching problem not the medical team this time.

  8. manassasnatsfan - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:49 PM

    Positive spin. Burress was on the Giants in 2010 and 2012

    Just saying…..

  9. Doc - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:49 PM

    Tony Two-Bags on the DL———SHE——HE——-IT!!!!

  10. Just. Dave - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    He can’t stay healthy. How is it that some guys get hurt over and over so often just playing baseball?

    • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:06 PM

      FP was saying he has to get his Sea Legs under him and the whole time it was a strained quad.

      Amazing how good this guy can hit with just one healthy leg in that 4 hit game.

  11. rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    You will not see him till after the AS break.For all you guys that wanted him to play second,I can not understand the fact that at second he is always stretching,getting hit on steals and double plays.Why in Gods name would you play a guy that is hurting at second.

    • Doc - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:06 PM

      My feeling exactly X 50!!!!!

    • Section 222 - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:07 PM

      You either know the answer to this question and are just a troll, or you haven’t read, or maybe haven’t understood, a word written on this blog on this topic over the past month. Either way, I hope no one wastes any time answering.

  12. rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    This is a huge problem.

    • bowdenball - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:08 PM

      A huge problem?

      He will miss 12 more games if he comes back after 15 days, 15 games if he comes back after the all-star break. The Nationals have a 3.5 lead over a mediocre division, a lead they built largely without contributions from Rendon. Their next six games are on the road against a terrible Phillies team and on the road against a mediocre Braves team that will be missing its best hitter by far. Max Scherzer will start two of those six games. After that the Nats have six home games before he’s eligible to return.

      I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:15 PM

        Rendon has played in 18 games so far this season, in which the Nats are 9-9 (.500, an 81 win pace). The Nats have played 55 games without Rendon, and have gone 31-24 (.563, a 91 win pace).

        Believe me, I’d rather have a healthy Rendon playing every day. But the Nats have certainly shown that they can play effectively without him if needed.

      • hokiepokster92 - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:30 PM

        +1 Agreed. A huge problem would be a season ending injury which this is not.

  13. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    Dang. Feel better, Anthony.

  14. rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    The last time if I remember in March it was a few days that latest two months.It is always no problem until it is a problem.

  15. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:17 PM

    It’s a shame he was just getting his timing back. He can’t do much about that while resting a quad.

  16. rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:21 PM

    If you remember it was Rendon and Harp who did the hitting in the playoffs.Without him if this is long term like I believe it will we are in trouble.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:23 PM

      No reason to think it is long term.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 26, 2015 at 4:32 PM

        He doesn’t need a reason. He’s primarily here for the DOOM.

  17. manassasnatsfan - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:29 PM

    Joel Sherman tweeted he heard rumblings to the effect Sandburg just resigned.

    Well that would fire up or kill the team spirit for that night.

    • hokiepokster92 - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:33 PM

      From a second source:

      Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 1m1 minute ago
      ryne sandberg resigns as phillies manager, team announces

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:34 PM

        On my phone I don’t know how to copy.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:36 PM

        Sometimes the manager loses the locker room, and sometimes the locker room loses the manager.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:35 PM

      that’s [reZined], not re-signed, I assume.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      Well, the Phillies are bad, so I am optimistic they won’t have the new coach effect and suddenly play well.

  18. manassasnatsfan - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    Who is managing Phillies tonight?

    • hokiepokster92 - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:38 PM

      Pete Rose 🙂

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 4:41 PM

      John McLaren. Gotta be.

  19. unkyd59 - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    Sandburg steps down, in Philly…

  20. rlndtln - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    When he returns Rendon third,Desi sis, Esco second which was the reason we traded for him.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM

      Maybe. The Nats are reluctant to have Escobar learn 2B on the fly. I agree that Rendon should be at third.

      Maybe Espinosa at second while Escobar works out there?

  21. manassasnatsfan - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:39 PM

    Ohh ohh Harper out again. That is not a good sign.

  22. Nats_UrbanPlanner - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:46 PM

    When it rains it pours in DC; speedy return for RENDON and Harper. Confident the Nats can beat the Phillies this week sans its brightest stars; go Scherzer!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 4:03 PM

      Cramps don’t take three days to heal, I agree. OTOH, if they were ever to get through a game without him, this one seems like a decent bet.

  23. Eric - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    Ugh

  24. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    Anybody think this is the real reason Turner was promoted to AAA? Because Syracuse needed a SS. The DL decision for Rendon and call for Burris was made Wednesday or Thursday; filing the papers, making the announcement was delayed until today.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 4:02 PM

      It certainly would dovetail with these circumstances nicely, but having both Turner and Difo play short for the time being seems like a reasonable explanation by itself, in a razorly way.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2015 at 4:05 PM

        As in Occam’s?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 26, 2015 at 4:25 PM

        as in.

      • veejh - Jun 26, 2015 at 5:50 PM

        natsfan1a…….You must have seen “Contact”.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 27, 2015 at 7:10 AM

        No, but I am married to a very, um, logical person. 😉

  25. veejh - Jun 26, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    Dayum, haven’t checked NI since this morning, and I come back to Rendon to the DL and Harper out? Sheesh. What next, Scherzer needs TJ?

    • natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2015 at 5:21 PM

      Bite your tongue, please. Okay, thanks. 🙂

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