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Rendon's toe injury finally sends him to DL

Nats' third baseman hits shelf after missing seven games
MLB.com @JamalCollier

LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rendon lifted up his leg to reveal the black bruise underneath his left big toe, a result of the ball he fouled off his foot more than a week ago. He had been doing his best to avoid the disabled list, taking batting practice, jogging or trying to field grounders each day. At best, he could have been considered a pinch-hitting option off the bench late in games.

Every time he felt enough improvement to add more pressure to his toe, however, he would come up sore the following day. Finally, prior to Sunday night's game against the Dodgers, the Nationals decided to place Rendon on the DL. Right-hander Austin L. Adams was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse in his place.

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LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rendon lifted up his leg to reveal the black bruise underneath his left big toe, a result of the ball he fouled off his foot more than a week ago. He had been doing his best to avoid the disabled list, taking batting practice, jogging or trying to field grounders each day. At best, he could have been considered a pinch-hitting option off the bench late in games.

Every time he felt enough improvement to add more pressure to his toe, however, he would come up sore the following day. Finally, prior to Sunday night's game against the Dodgers, the Nationals decided to place Rendon on the DL. Right-hander Austin L. Adams was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse in his place.

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"It's just a slower process than we anticipated," Rendon said. "I think the hardest part is you have days where it feels good and you push it, and then come in the next day and it's sore. It's like you take one step forward and two steps back."

Rendon will miss his eighth consecutive game on Sunday in what will be his ninth day since the foul ball against the Rockies that forced him to exit the game after seven inning on April 13. The Nationals were able to backdate his stint on the DL to April 19, but Washington played with a short roster for more than a week with hopes Rendon could return soon.

And now Rendon can not return to the lineup until next Sunday.

"It wasn't for lack of effort," manager Dave Martinez said. "He was really trying to play. ... When you lose a guy like Rendon, who's a big part of your lineup and he's telling you he'll be available, you got to give him that opportunity. And it got to the point now where he finally realized, 'I can hit, but I can't do the things I need to be doing to help us win.'"

The injury is another blow to the Nationals, as Rendon joins second baseman Daniel Murphy (knee) and left fielder Adam Eaton (ankle) on the shelf. Murphy is at extended spring training, and his return is still a few weeks away. Eaton was eligible to return from the DL on Thursday and Martinez said they are hopeful he could return at some point this week in San Francisco. 

Rendon had been off to a good start batting in front of Bryce Harper in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, posting a slash line of .286/.355/.411 in 14 games. Rendon has been able to hit without pain, but he struggles with the toe while taking ground balls at third base or trying to pivot and throw. With him still feeling pain fielding grounders, he has not attempted to sprint.

"I don't want to come back and be here and be only a pinch-hit threat," Rendon said. "I want to play defense. I want to make sure I'm helping the team."

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

Washington Nationals, Anthony Rendon