But Baker was worried enough about Rendon’s status to leave him out of Tuesday’s lineup.
“I hate to see him struggle like this, kinda,” Baker said. “And I’m not sure if his leg is right 100 percent.”
Rendon fouled a ball off his left calf during the last week of spring training, a seemingly minor injury that cost him his last week of spring training at-bats and a spot in the Opening Day lineup. The 26-year-old has played uninhibited on defense, and he made a stunning diving stop late in Monday’s night game that would support the theory that he is moving just fine. But he has looked lost at the plate, more in-between than in-rhythm. Stephen Drew, who drove in four runs Monday night, will start in his place Tuesday. Wilmer Difo will start in place of shortstop Trea Turner, who is hitting but not yet running after straining his right hamstring Saturday.
So an infield of Drew, Difo, Murphy and Zimmerman will back Gio Gonzalez in his second outing of the season. Tuesday will be Difo’s first start of the season. The 25-year-old is 1 for 4 so far and presents an interesting contrast from Rendon in the second spot. While Rendon is known for seeing pitches and working counts, Difo is known for unrelenting aggressiveness. Few fastballs fly by without a swing, and Difo is not one to walk. But what he does bring to the secod spot is speed and bat control, the ability to bunt behind Eaton and cause trouble on the bases. Difo has a .341 on-base percentage in 73 major league at-bats.