WASHINGTON -- Steve Lombardozzi started at second base for the second time in four games on Saturday, a move that manager Davey Johnson explained as an effort to give Anthony Rendon some more time off.
Rendon has played in 114 games between Double-A Harrisburg, Triple-A Syracuse and the Nationals this season. In 2012, his first year of professional baseball, he only played 43 games after returning from surgery on his right ankle. Johnson said that some of his coaches occasionally tell him to give Rendon a break.
"Some of us think that he should be on an innings limit like some of the pitchers, because this is the first season he's played over 50 games," Johnson said. "So that's all it is."
Lombardozzi's recent success also factored into the decision. He hit the first pinch-hit home run of his career on Friday night and is hitting .329 in his past 36 games entering Saturday. After ending a homerless drought on Aug. 22, he has now gone yard twice in his past eight games.
"Lombo's got this power surge going," Johnson said, "so I'm going to take advantage of it."
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.