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Rendon nears return; Zim gets day off to heal

@MannyOnMLB
April 24, 2019

DENVER -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon may be nearing a return to the starting lineup, although he wasn't in it for Wednesday's series finale vs. the Rockies at Coors Field. Rendon hasn't played since being hit on the left elbow by a Jose Urena fastball on Saturday in Miami,

DENVER -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon may be nearing a return to the starting lineup, although he wasn't in it for Wednesday's series finale vs. the Rockies at Coors Field.

Rendon hasn't played since being hit on the left elbow by a Jose Urena fastball on Saturday in Miami, resulting in a contusion. That's not to say he couldn't play on Wednesday.

"I talked to him this morning, and he said he felt better than yesterday," manager Dave Martinez said. "He's going to hit again today. Yesterday, he said he actually could've played defense, but we were reluctant to put him in, in case he had to dive or something."

Meanwhile, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was also absent from the starting lineup Wednesday after landing awkwardly on a play in which he had to leap to catch a high throw from third baseman Howie Kendrick on Tuesday.

"It's a scheduled day off, which gives him two [with an off-day Thursday before the Nats return home to play the Padres]," Martinez said. "He said his heel is bothering him a little bit, but he thinks in two days, he'll feel fine."

Juan Soto, who fouled a ball hard off the inside of his lower right leg during Tuesday's 6-3 win over Colorado, was in the starting lineup Wednesday and hit a two-run homer.

Eaton says 'lower body' issue no big deal

Adam Eaton hit a chopper over the middle of the infield to lead off the game in Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the Rockies, but he pulled up as he neared first base. He appeared to be in some discomfort afterward.

"Just a little something in my lower body, no big deal," Eaton said. "Just something I've been dealing with that kind of crept up on me a little bit. I made an adjustment and the rest of the game I felt a lot better. I'm excited for the day off [Thursday]; Colorado usually gets me by the third day anyway."

Eaton went 1-for-5 with a single.

Miller begins rehab assignment

Reliever Justin Miller, who is on the injured list with a lower back strain, has begun a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A Potomac. The 31-year-old right-hander was very good down the stretch for the Nationals in 2018, posting a 3.61 ERA with a 28% strikeout rate over 51 appearances.

Martinez said he wants to try to get Miller appearances on consecutive days before a return to the Nats. With a bullpen that has faltered for much of the season so far, a healthy Miller would definitely be a boost.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.