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Nationals' Rendon activated, tries to regain momentum from 2014

Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon heads to home for his solo home run during the seventh inning of an interleague baseball game against the Houston Astros at Nationals Park Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Washington. The Nationals won 6-5. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon heads to home for his solo home run during the seventh inning of an interleague baseball game against the Houston Astros at Nationals Park Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Washington. The Nationals won 6-5. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon, Capital Gazette)

For the first time in 2015, Anthony Rendon is back on the Washington Nationals' active roster after he was reinstated from the disabled list Thursday. Rendon was battling a sprained MCL in his left knee and a strained oblique.

The Nationals optioned Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg to make room for Rendon, who is expected to play second base. Rendon was the National League Silver Slugger at third base last season.

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Rendon's reinstatement ends what amounted to a months-long purgatory for one of baseball's most promising young talents, one that began when Rendon dived for a ball in a spring training game March 9. He slammed his left knee against the unforgiving Space Coast Stadium dirt, spraining the ligament. The Nationals initially expected him back after a few days of rest. Rendon said he thinks everyone was surprised by how long trouble lingered.

"There was a little frustration, but everything happens for a reason," Rendon said. "I've been put in this position and I just have to go forward from here. "

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After spending April resting and healing in Viera, Fla., Rendon headed back to the majors, stopping first for a late April rehabilitation assignment. While there, he felt a twinge in his side that later was found to be the strained oblique. He was relegated to rest again.

"I think just gradually I felt [the oblique], then it got worse and worse, and then I thought I could play through it," Rendon said. Last week, Rendon began a rehab assignment with Harrisburg, and this time it stuck. He played five games, three at second base and two as the designated hitter. He played two games Wednesday, and had a hit in each.

"I think I feel all right, but baseball is baseball. You can feel great and then go out there and strike out five times in a row," Rendon said.

Rendon hit .287 with a .351 on-base percentage, 21 home runs and 83 RBIs last season.

-- Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

Et cetera

90-second possession clock recommended for women's lacrosse

The NCAA women's lacrosse rules committee surprised many in the sport Thursday by recommending a 90-second possession clock after its meeting in Indianapolis earlier this week. "It's the shot heard round the world," Navy coach Cindy Timchal said. For the sport, it has that implication. Many teams hold the ball for long periods of time, especially late in the game when they stall to protect a lead. National champion Maryland did it in the latter part of both games on Championship Weekend two weeks ago — a 10-8 win over Syracuse in the semifinal and a 9-8 win over North Carolina in the title game. If a team has a lead and wins the ensuing draw, it can be extremely difficult to force a turnover, often enabling that team to hold onto the ball for the rest of the game. Safety rules make it difficult to check legally in the women's game. Holding the ball, especially in the last 10 minutes, has become increasingly popular at both the college and high school levels. No such change has yet been recommended for the high school game.

For more of Katherine Dunn's blog post on the recommendation and other possible rule changes, go to baltimoresun.com/lacrosseinsider.

Men's college lacrosse: UMBC announced a 14-player recruiting class for the fall of 2015 that includes midfielder Luke Ciccarone (Calvert Hall), midfielder Jack Andrews (St. Mary's), attackman Patrick Brennan (Chesapeake-Anne Arundel), attackman Gunnar Schimolar (South River), attackman-midfielder Billy Nolan (Arundel), midfielder Blake McDermott (South Carroll) and midfielder Patrick Clipp (Marriotts Ridge).

College baseball: CCBC Dundalk named Kyle Campbell head coach. Campbell coached Franklin from 2012 to 2014 and previously attended the high school. ... La Salle graduate student Ryan Welling (Calvert Hall) was named a CoSIDA third-team Academic All-American.

NFL: Former Navy long snapper Joe Cardona has signed a four-year, $2.47 million contract with the New England Patriots. Cardona was a fifth-round draft pick.

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Pimlico Race Course: The track enters the final weekend of the Preakness meet with a 10-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $260,739. There was no single winning ticket on Thursday's Rainbow 6. Multiple tickets with six winners returned $118.33.

Baseball: The Pittsburgh Pirates assigned former Orioles right-handed pitcher Radhames Liz outright to Triple-A Indianapolis. He was 1-3 with a 3.63 ERA.

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