Mar 23, 2014, 11:52 AM EDT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Anthony Rendon is unavailable to play for the third straight day due to a severe chest cold, but the second baseman is expected to return well in advance of the Nationals’ March 31 season opener.
Rendon hasn’t played since Thursday, when he came off the bench to replace Ryan Zimmerman at third base against the Tigers. He has been dealing with the same bug that has affected several others in the Nationals’ clubhouse, though his case has gotten worse than any other.
Manager Matt Williams said Rendon is taking antibiotics and was able to go through a light workout this morning at Space Coast Stadium, taking swings in the batting cage, playing catch and jogging. It still could be another couple of days, though, before he’s back in the lineup.
“He’s getting better,” Williams said. “We’ll monitor him every day, but today is better. The doctor said he’s crackling in [his chest], which is a concern. He’ll be good. It’s just going to take some time.”
Williams said he has no reason to believe Rendon won’t be healthy well before Opening Day.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a highly productive spring, hitting .344 with a homer, six RBI and a .921 OPS. Though the Nationals haven’t made any official declaration yet, Rendon is expected to open the season as their starting second baseman, with Danny Espinosa serving as the backup at both second base and shortstop.
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