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Rendon on horizon; Murphy not running well

Third baseman set for short rehab assignment beginning Thursday
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon will begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Thursday at Class A Advanced Potomac.

It will be the first game action for Rendon since he fouled a ball off his left big toe on April 13. After going through full workouts the past few days on the field at Nationals Park, he is finally ready to return to action. Depending on how well he responds, the rehab assignment is only expected to last a game or two.

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon will begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Thursday at Class A Advanced Potomac.

It will be the first game action for Rendon since he fouled a ball off his left big toe on April 13. After going through full workouts the past few days on the field at Nationals Park, he is finally ready to return to action. Depending on how well he responds, the rehab assignment is only expected to last a game or two.

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Video: COL@WSH: Rendon fouls ball off foot, exits game later

"He ran today, looked good," manager Dave Martinez said. "He said he's ready. He can get some at-bats and play a full game."

Washington will welcome Rendon's consistent bat back to the lineup. He had been hitting .286/.355/.411 in 14 games before he sustained the injury, although it initially appeared he would not require a stint on the disabled list. But every time the contusion on his toe felt better, Rendon would endure a bit of a setback and slow his progress.

Rendon has made strides the past few days during his workouts and appears ready to return to the lineup soon, and the Nationals' lineup will benefit from re-inserting one of its best hitters.

Murphy still hindered running

While he was working out at the team's complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., Daniel Murphy could only follow along with scoring updates to each Nationals game, noting it was too hard to watch live. He gets too anxious. Plus, Murphy has been itching to return from the microfracture knee surgery he underwent in October.

On Wednesday at Nationals Park, Murphy acknowledged he was frustrated with the lack of progress in his surgically repaired right knee, which so far has prevented him from playing this season. He has participated in full baseball activities -- hitting in the cage and taking grounders at second base without restriction -- but he still feels some discomfort in his knee while running. Until then, Murphy remains on the sideline waiting for his knee to fully heal.

"I want to play," Murphy said. "I see these guys competing so hard each night, and to not be able to do that with them is frustrating. As far as the running goes, I still have a little bit of a hitch in my giddyup, so I'm not running the way I would if I were 100 percent."

Murphy had the surgery in October and the timeline for recovery was scheduled to be about six months. It's been about six and a half months and he still has been reduced to watching from the sidelines.

Video: PIT@WSH: Murphy advises Harper, takes part in drills

After spending two weeks at extended spring training, the Nats wanted Murphy to rejoin the club in Washington to get evaluated by team doctors. Martinez spoke with Murphy upon returning and sensed his frustration, however the manager encouraged his second baseman to see the progress he has made so far.

"It takes a long time," Martinez said. "He didn't do anything for such a long time that now the running portion of it, he's just got to re-go through the motions of running and getting that strength back."

The Nationals never had a set date for Murphy's return, but there was a moment during Spring Training where they believed he could be ready to begin the season on time. Martinez admits they were a bit gung-ho because of the fast progress Murphy was making initially, but they have slowed his rehab down lately to make sure he is 100 percent healthy upon return.

And despite his frustration, Murphy has been adamant about returning in top shape as well. He does not want to be limited in any way once he returns from the disabled list and does not want to be hampered where he is at risk for a setback.

"I'm not in a position where I can run right now to play," Murphy said. "I'm no good to anybody if I come off [the disabled list]. I'm limited and I can't play on a daily basis and the team has to kind of carry me as a passenger. So I want to be prepared. When I come off the DL, I [don't want to risk going back]."

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon