10:53pm: Kendrick suffered a ruptured Achilles, manager Dave Martinez announced Saturday (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). He’ll undergo season-ending surgery Monday.
7:16pm: The Nationals have placed infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick on the disabled list with a right Achilles injury, per a team announcement. His roster spot will go to right-hander Jefry Rodriguez, whom the Nats recalled from Double-A Harrisburg.
The severity of Kendrick’s injury isn’t yet known, though both the location of the problem and the fact that he left the team’s game on a cart Saturday are alarming.
Kendrick, whom the Nationals re-signed to a two-year, $7MM guarantee in the offseason, had gotten off to a productive start to the season prior to Saturday (.303/.331/.474 and four home runs in 160 plate appearances). The 34-year-old has also played several positions, primarily lining up at second base in place of injured star Daniel Murphy. With Murphy still working back from offseason knee surgery, Wilmer Difo should have second base to himself for the time being. The Nats had been turning to Difo at the keystone anyway in recent days while Kendrick occupied left field to help cover for the absences of the banged-up Adam Eaton–Brian Goodwin duo.
Now that Kendrick has joined Eaton, Goodwin and top prospect Victor Robles on the shelf, and minor leaguer Rafael Bautista is set to undergo season-ending knee surgery, Washington’s outfield depth is clearly weaker than it was entering the day. Bryce Harper and the struggling Michael A. Taylor still remain on hand in starting roles, though, with Matt Adams, Moises Sierra and Andrew Stevenson also serving as potential 25-man options. Their only other healthy, outfield-capable 40-man choices are Matt Reynolds and Jose Marmolejos, both of whom are on Triple-A. Of course, Washington also has another of the game’s best outfield prospects in Juan Soto, but he’s only 19 and has taken just 31 PAs above the Single-A level. Unsurprisingly, then, the Nats aren’t looking to rush Soto to the majors.