Veteran Washington Nationals infielder-outfielder Howie Kendrick tore his right Achilles tendon in the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers and will miss the rest of the season.
Kendrick confirmed the injury while standing on crutches and wearing a walking boot in the Nationals’ clubhouse after Washington was swept in the doubleheader. He will have surgery as early as Monday.
“I know I won’t be back this year,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick took an awkward step while retreating to catch a deep flyball to left field in the eighth inning of Washington’s 4-1 loss. He winced as he threw the ball and then went to the ground, where a trainer examined his lower right leg. He did not put any weight on the leg and was taken off the field in a cart.
“Once I tried to put weight on it, I couldn’t put any weight on it, really, and then I was like, ‘Oh, crap, I’d better just sit down,'” Kendrick said. “That’s when I really knew there was something wrong with it because I couldn’t control my heel at all, so that’s when I knew it was probably my Achilles.”
Kendrick’s .303 batting average leads the team, and he has steadied the Nationals’ lineup in the absence of injured regulars Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy. He was making just his fifth start in left field this season, having played mostly at second base in place of Murphy.
“It’s a huge loss,” teammate Bryce Harper said. “Not something you want to see, especially when we need him. I’m super bummed out.”
The 34-year-old Kendrick is a .291 career hitter in 13 major league seasons. The Nationals acquired him in a trade with Philadelphia last July.
“I still get to be here to hang out with the guys, and at least I can spread some energy that way. I always try to look at everything on the bright side. I’m always positive,” Kendrick said. “There’s no point in being mopey about it. It won’t heal as fast. So the happier I am, the faster I’ll heal, and hopefully I’ll get this out of the way.”
Washington placed Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Jefry Rodriguez from Double-A Harrisburg to take his place on the roster.
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