Dave Martinez was sitting in the dugout, explaining that most people call him Davey, when Chip Hale called him over. Hale looked concerned, and he and Martinez headed down the tunnel together, an unorthodox approach given batting practice had just started. A few minutes later, the Nationals announced a new lineup. Anthony Rendon was not in it, scratched with what the team officially called a left wrist contusion.

Rendon was hit with a pitch on his left (front) wrist Friday, and while he stayed in the game and even hit the ball hard in the innings that followed, he showed signs of concern after the game. Just after he shed his uniform, he and trainer Paul Lessard headed out of the clubhouse and past reporters as Rendon sheepishly wrapped his wrist in his shirt to keep it out of sight. Martinez said as far as he knew everything was fine. An initial X-ray on the wrist was negative.

But as Rendon learned when he fouled a ball off his toe earlier this season, and Jayson Werth learned all too well, blows to bony areas such as that can cause problems not caught by X-rays. Rendon was scratched too late for reporters to ask anyone for clarification or whether any additional tests would be performed. Mark Reynolds will start in place of Rendon, who is hitting .289 with 16 homers and an .851 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

The rest of the injury news had been good Saturday. Stephen Strasburg threw 64 pitches in a bullpen session that amounted to four simulated innings, and everything went well. Strasburg received an injection in his neck on July 26, at which point he and the Nationals counted on a hasty return. Nothing has changed, though the progress has been more deliberate than expected. Martinez said Strasburg will throw a simulated game Wednesday in St. Louis, then probably will need a rehab start in the minors before returning.

Kelvin Herrera threw in the outfield before Saturday’s game, an indication that the swelling in his shoulder has dissipated. Herrera did not throw much, nor at any great distance, but that he was not shut down for more than a week substantiates the Nationals’ initial hopes that the problem would not linger. The Nationals also had hopes like that for closer Sean Doolittle. Martinez said the stress reaction in Doolittle’s foot has improved enough that he will try to push off a mound sometime this weekend, and he has been walking around without a boot for days now.

But injuries have never let the Nationals alone for long this season. They must now hope Rendon’s is not substantial enough to affect their climb up the National League East standings, which has been hard enough to perpetrate already.


Adam Eaton RF

Trea Turner SS

Bryce Harper CF

Ryan Zimmerman 1B

Juan Soto LF

Mark Reynolds 3B

Daniel Murphy 2B

Matt Wieters C

Tanner Roark P


Anthony Rizzo 1B

Javy Baez 2B

Jason Heyward RF

David Bote 3B

Willson Contreras C

Kyle Schwarber LF

Addison Russell SS

Jon Lester P

Albert Almora Jr. CF