WASHINGTON -- The Nationals could be close to getting one of their most important hitters back in the lineup as third baseman Anthony Rendon participated in a full pregame workout prior to Monday night's game against the Pirates.
Rendon fielded grounders at third base, simulated baserunning and hit in the batting cage to test out his bruised left big toe.
If all goes well, it is possible Rendon could appear in some sort of game as soon as Tuesday, either to start a Minor League rehab assignment or perhaps be activated from the disabled list.
"It's all based right now on what he feels and how he feels," manager Dave Martinez said. "He says he's feeling better every day, so if he feels like he should go down and get some at-bats and really test it, that could be a possibility."
Rendon has not played in a game since April 13, when he fouled a ball off his toe. He appeared to be close to returning to the lineup for more than a week until he finally landed on the DL on April 22, retroactive to April 19.
Murphy joins Nats
Daniel Murphy walked into the Nationals' clubhouse on Monday afternoon for the first time since he left for extended spring training in West Palm Beach, Fla., about two weeks ago. The club wants Murphy to meet with team doctors again to evaluate his surgically repaired right knee and then the plan is for him to continue his rehab.
"We've always wanted him around the team and the boys," Martinez said. "Like I said before Opening Day, we wanted him here as well. The weather is starting to get a little better, so we wanted to see him and his activities."
Murphy had been on a running program at the team's complex, where he was hitting and taking grounders to prepare to return from microfracture knee surgery in October. He has yet to appear in a game this season.
Martinez wanted to wait until Murphy was seen by team doctors before he said how close he would be to a potential rehab assignment or how soon he could join the Nats' lineup.
Suero earns promotion
The Nationals promoted right-hander Wander Suero, the club's No. 22 prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline, to the Majors prior to Monday's game against the Pirates. Austin Voth was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse to create space.
Washington has struggled to find consistency from its middle relievers this season, so the team is turning to Suero for his first stint in the Majors. The 26-year-old right-hander carries a big fastball that cuts to both sides of the plate and reached the upper 90s during Spring Training. He may have been promoted sooner if he had not been slowed by an oblique injury during Spring Training.
"It feels incredible, this is the goal, what we work so hard to accomplish to get up here," Suero said through an interpreter. "Now that I am here, I'm excited, I'm very, very happy. It just feels amazing."
Suero said it took about three weeks before the discomfort in his oblique went away, which gave him a late start to the season at Triple-A. He made four appearances at Syracuse and did not allow an earned run in the final three, fanning a pair and holding opposing hitters to just one hit in 10 at-bats. A year ago, he led Washington's Minor League system with 20 saves between Double-A Harrisburg and Syracuse.
Voth's first stint in the Majors lasted just one game, as the Nationals needed extra length in the bullpen this past weekend. Now they'll turn to Suero in the hopes he can provide a jolt to their struggling bullpen.
"I like his ability to get both lefty hitters and righty hitters out," Martinez said. "He's got a really good cutter and he throws strikes. That's what you need coming out of the bullpen."