WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon was excited and honored to be named an All-Star for the first time in his career Sunday. He appreciates being recognized as one of the best players in the National League, an honor that is long overdue for one of the most consistent and productive players in the Majors.
However, Rendon acknowledged prior to Tuesday night’s 3-2 walk-off win against the Marlins at Nationals Park that he is still undecided about attending the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. He reiterated that he has been playing through some nagging injuries (although he declined to go into specifics) for the past few weeks and said he would rather spend the break resting his body instead of going to Cleveland.
“It's still not set in stone if I'm going yet,” Rendon said. “I’ve got a lot of injuries or little ailments that I'm dealing with right now. So it's the kind of decision where I'm thinking about, I may want to get my body back to 100 percent over those four days instead of actually dealing with all this and actually not getting time to rest. So I'm still thinking about it.”
The Nationals have been lobbying for Rendon to become an All-Star for years, and on Sunday he was finally named to the team after a career-best first half, with 19 homers, a 1.028 OPS and 3.3 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per FanGraphs. Nats manager Dave Martinez said he has a “funny feeling” that Rendon will show up in Cleveland, and he made it clear he would like for Rendon to go and experience the game.
“I think he really needs to,” Martinez said. “I mean, he deserves it. If anybody deserves it, it's him.”
Rendon did not share such an optimistic view of the situation Tuesday.
Since returning from the injured list with a bruised left elbow on May 7, Rendon has been in the Nationals' lineup every day, a streak that will reach 50 consecutive games on Tuesday night against Miami. His performance has not cratered during that period -- entering Tuesday, he was batting .293/.380/.587 with 13 home runs since coming off the IL -- but there have been a few noticeable instances where he was not running hard out of the batter’s box. According to Martinez, it’s just the usual soreness that comes from playing every day, but this past weekend, Martinez also acknowledged he has instructed Rendon to “be smart” to remain on the field.
“I’m pretty sure you can go back and watch the games,” Rendon said. “I haven't been running out balls as much as I usually [have] in the past.”
Still, Rendon has not taken a day off during this stretch, despite Martinez’s inquiries about whether he needs a breather. Rendon said if he believes he can help the team, he wants to be in the lineup “unless my leg's falling off or I can't bend my elbow to swing.”
“Yeah, it's a great honor and I'm very appreciative, but at the same time, I play for the Nationals.” Rendon said. “So I want to be able to be 100 percent, or at least close to that, and keep putting myself in position every day to actually help my team.”