Two updates related to Anthony Rendon today from Kendall Rogers via Twitter (@KendallRogersPG), who spoke to Rice head coach Wayne Graham:
The good news from Rogers: Rendon isn’t experiencing any pain in his shoulder, and could return to third base this weekend.
The bad news: Rice lost outfielder Jeremy Rathjen for the year with an ACL injury. The loss hurts Rendon, since Rathjen hit behind him, and was his protection. Rathjen is hitting for a .295/.353/.426 line on the season, and hit for a .317/.396/.584 line in 2010, with 13 homers. This year he was the only Rice starter, aside from Rendon, with a slugging percentage higher than .377, and only one of three players with 25+ at-bats and a slugging percentage over .350.
Rendon was already having trouble at the plate, seeing a lot of outside pitches. The loss of Rathjen means teams can easily pitch around him, unless someone else steps up to protect him.
As a reference, in 2010 Rendon had an .801 slugging percentage, and had guys like Diego Seastrunk (.626 SLG) and Rathjen (.584 SLG) hitting behind him. Some of the lower numbers this year, including Rendon’s, could be due to the new bats. However, even with the new bats factored in, the 2011 Rice offense is looking a lot like a one man show with Rathjen gone. That means Rendon’s chances of improving his offensive numbers could be hurt, as pitchers would have less incentive to pitch to him with no one backing him up.