MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Rendon to start Minor League rehab assignment Friday

Rendon to start Minor League rehab assignment Friday

WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, who hasn't played a regular-season game this season because of a sprained left MCL, will begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Friday, said manager Matt Williams.

In an extended spring training game on Tuesday, Rendon played three innings and had a couple of at-bats. On Wednesday, Rendon is expected to play five innings and then will be off Thursday.

Rendon hurt the knee March 9 while making a diving play against the Braves. He recently told Williams that he no longer has pain in the knee.

"It does get a little stiff," Williams said about Rendon's knee, "but the pain has subsided. So that's a real good sign. That's not an issue. Beyond that, he is getting in shape. Anything that has to do with your legs, not being able to do much, then you are not in baseball shape.

"We want to make sure he is in shape, get his legs underneath him. So beyond the pain, that's probably the biggest thing. His swing will come, the timing will come and all of that. We don't want him to get out there too quickly, and not being in baseball shape."

Last year, Rendon was arguably the team MVP, hitting .287 with 21 home runs, 83 RBIs and a team-leading 111 runs scored. He played nearly flawless defense at third and second base, and Williams indicated that Rendon could play both positions this season.

In other news, reliever Craig Stammen underwent surgery Sunday to repair flexor tendons in his right forearm. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.