Taylor, Kendrick near return to Nats' lineup
WASHINGTON -- Two players who began the season on the injured list for the Nationals appear close to returning.
Howie Kendrick was back in D.C. prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies, preparing to work out with the club over the next few days as the team evaluates the status of his left hamstring strain. Michael A. Taylor is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg on Friday to get some reps playing the outfield and test out his strained left knee and hip.
Both players spent the past week rehabbing at the team’s complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., during extended spring camp, where Kendrick appeared in a few Minor League games and a simulated game. That led manager Dave Martinez to believe Kendrick, who is eligible to be activated on Thursday, would not require a Minor League rehab assignment before he is ready to return.
“He looks real good,” Martinez said. “He ran the bases and looked really, really good. I wanted him to come [to D.C.] so we could watch him work out.”
The return of both players would give Washington a significant improvement on the bench. Kendrick was initially intended to be the club’s top right-handed pinch-hitter off the bench with the versatility to play multiple positions. Taylor’s return could take some pressure off rookie center fielder Victor Robles, who has had an up-and-down start in his first full weekend in the Majors, excelling at the plate with some miscues on defense and on the basepaths.
Taylor is still further away from returning to the field, but he has made considerable progress since he sprained his left knee and hip on a diving play in the outfield during the spring. He had been doing some light baseball activity before the start of the season, but he made enough progress this past week for the Nats to feel comfortable increasing the intensity.
“He’s doing well, but he needs to play some games, get out in the outfield,” Martinez said.