Kendrick makes long-awaited return from IL
NEW YORK -- Howie Kendrick was officially activated from the injured list prior to Thursday’s game against the Mets, completing his return to the big leagues not only from a left hamstring strain during Spring Training, but the torn Achilles that required surgery last May.
Kendrick’s return immediately upgrades the Nationals' bench while giving manager Dave Martinez another option at second base, where Kendrick seems likely to get a start soon.
“We’ll get him in the field,” Martinez said. “For today, he’ll come off the bench, but I’d like to get him a start here pretty soon just to get him back in the feel of things to see where he’s at.”
When Kendrick does get into a game, it will be his first appearance in the Majors since May 19, when he tore his Achilles chasing down a fly ball in left field. Before the injury, he had been one of Washington’s most productive hitters, batting .303/.331/.474 and filling in at first base, second base and left field.
Kendrick had worked throughout the winter to be fully healthy at the start of Spring Training, and he achieved that goal, starting at second base for the Nats' Grapefruit League opener. He appeared in five games during the spring before he strained his hamstring running to first base on March 5.
The injury slowed his progress, but Kendrick felt like he still received plenty of at-bats during his time at extended spring training and facing left-hander Tony Sipp during live batting practice sessions.
“I probably got five or six games, four at-bats a game,” Kendrick said. “And we had some guys that stayed back for extended [spring camp] that threw to me and [Michael A. Taylor] down there. So I’ve gotten quite a few at-bats. It’s not like I’ve been just sitting around. I was able to hit the whole time. Running was just the last thing to come.”
Jake Noll was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room for Kendrick following Wednesday’s 9-8 walk-off victory, during which Noll drew the game-winning walk.
• Taylor is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday.
• Matt Adams (back spasms) took swings in the batting cage prior to Thursday’s game, and Martinez was hopeful he would be available to pinch-hit if needed.