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Howie Kendrick continues to play unlikely hero for Nationals

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Howie Kendrick might not be the likeliest of heroes for the Washington Nationals, but neither is the 36-year-old vet the unlikeliest. After all, he has hit .325 over the past three seasons — the highest batting average in the majors.

Kendrick went 3-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs in the Nationals’ 8-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night. The Nationals are now one win away from their first World Series appearance in franchise history.

Kendrick became just the fourth player to hit three doubles in an LCS game, matching Ben Zobrist, Albert Pujols and Fred McGriff. He also hit the grand slam to beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS and is hitting .314 in the postseason with nine RBIs in nine games.

“He’s the greatest ever,” teammate Anthony Rendon said after the game. “I mean, you see the man. He’s, what, 36 years old, and he’s still doing it. He’s built like a frickin’ cinderblock. He’s huge. Man, he stays short. He’s strong. So if he puts that barrel to it and stays behind the ball, you see it. He does damage. So he knows how to hit. That’s what he does.”

Kendrick is a lifetime .294 hitter, but hit a career-high .344 in 334 at-bats in 2019.

“I’m just trying to get smarter,” Kendrick said about his big season and being locked in at the moment. “Making adjustments, I would say, is the biggest thing. Trying to be more efficient with my body and my swing. Kevin Long is a big part of that. Kevin lives out in Phoenix, and I live in Phoenix. It’s funny because the first time we met, I said to him, ‘Hey, what can I do to get better?’ He had a list, like he had wrote down on a pad of paper. I wasn’t expecting it. This was the first time I had ever hit with him. He had this sheet of paper. He goes, ‘All right. This is what I know about you. This is what you hit with this, this, and this.'”

Long became the Nationals’ hitting coach in 2018. Kendrick hit .303 last season, but suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on May 19. His work with Long has paid big dividends this season.

His big hit on Monday came against Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty and capped the Nationals’ four-run inning — all four of which came with two outs. Kendrick lined a 2-1 fastball into the gap in right-center at 105.5 mph, capping the rally with a two-run double. It was the one hard-hit ball in the inning off Flaherty.

“I didn’t execute the one to Kendrick,” Flaherty said. “That’s the one pitch I want back.”

Kendrick first joined the Nationals in a trade with the Phillies in 2017 and then remained as a free agent.

“I love the team, and I re-signed for two years,” he said. “Last year was bittersweet because I got off to a good start and ruptured my Achilles. Having the ability to come back this year and be a part of this team and to be with the guys in the locker room, that was huge. Me and Kevin and Joe Dillon, we got to continue the process that we’d already started with my hitting, and I just trusted them and stuck with it. They just helped me get better at a time when I really needed to.”

Now, in his 14th season in the majors, Kendrick is one win away from his first trip to the World Series. Rendon was asked what he’ll be doing at 36.

“Hopefully not playing baseball,” he said. “Probably sitting on the couch hanging out with my kids. [Kendrick’s] probably going to play another 20 years.”

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2020 Leaderboards – ESPN

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A Los Golpes ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Cronmetro ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 El diario de Martn ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 Es as y punto con Hernn Pereyra ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 ESPN Radio Frmula ESPN Radio Mar 27, 2020 Ftbol Picante ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Jorge Ramos y Su Banda ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 La Butaca ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 Los Capitanes ESPN Radio Mar 27, 2020 NFL Live ESPN Radio Mar 27, 2020 Nos ponemos las pilas con Fernando Palomo ESPN Radio May 19, 2020 Raza Deportiva ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 30 For 30 Podcasts ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 ESPORTS ESPN Radio May 22, 2020 FiveThirtyEight Politics ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Around The Rim ESPN Radio May 4, 2020 Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 SC Featured ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 The Jump ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Bill Barnwell Show ESPN Radio May 20, 2020 Matty & The Caddie ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 College Football Live ESPN Radio May 19, 2020 espnW presents Be Honest with Cari Champion ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 ESPN Media Conference Calls ESPN Radio Apr 20, 2020 The Right Time with Bomani Jones ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 First Draft ESPN Radio Apr 29, 2020 The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Freddie and Fitzsimmons ESPN Radio Mar 12, 2020 NFL Live ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 98.7 ESPN New York: Dave Rothenberg ESPN Radio May 30, 2020 DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Caught Offside ESPN Radio May 26, 2020 ESPN FC ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Best of ESPNLA ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Jalen & Jacoby ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Lowe Post ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Cheap Heat with Peter Rosenberg ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Spain and Company ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 The Paul Finebaum Show ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Marty and McGee ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 Around the Horn ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Behind the Bets with Doug Kezirian ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Golic and Wingo ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Highly Questionable ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Outside The Lines ESPN Radio Mar 23, 2020 Courtside with Greenberg & Dakich ESPN Radio May 26, 2020 Fantasy Focus Baseball ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Fantasy Focus Football ESPN Radio May 19, 2020 First Take ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 ESPN Podcasts ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 ESPN On Ice with Wyshynski and Kaplan ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 In The Gate ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 PTI ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Will Cain Show ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Caught Offside ESPN New York May 26, 2020 The Michael Kay Show ESPN New York May 29, 2020 98.7 ESPN New York: Dave Rothenberg ESPN New York May 30, 2020 DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg ESPN New York Jun 1, 2020 Best of ESPN New York ESPN New York Jun 1, 2020 Mason & Ireland ESPN Los Angeles May 29, 2020 The Sedano Show ESPN Los Angeles May 29, 2020 Weekend Warrior ESPN Los Angeles May 30, 2020 Best of ESPNLA ESPN Los Angeles May 29, 2020

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Nationals reverse course, restore minor league pay after Sean Doolittle’s pledge

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WASHINGTON — The Nationals changed course and told their minor leaguers on Monday they will receive their full weekly stipends of $400 at least through June after Washington reliever Sean Doolittle tweeted that the team’s major league players would cover a planned cut in those payments.

Doolittle wrote on Twitter that Nationals major leaguers held a video conference call after The Athletic reported Sunday the club would be releasing more than two dozen minor league players and reducing stipends for players in the minors from $400 to $300 per week.

A text message sent by the Nationals to players in the minors and forwarded Monday to The Associated Press reads: “Upon further internal discussion, you will receive your full stipend of $400 per week through the month of June. We will consider future payments on a month to month basis. Thank you!”

It’s not unusual for big league teams to release minor leaguers at this time of year, although not normally this many. More than 400 young players have been cut with the minor league season in doubt amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Athletic reported that 40 players were cut by the Nationals.

Minor league players not on 40-man rosters were promised $400 per week through Sunday by a policy drafted by MLB. Including Washington’s switch, now at least 16 teams have promised to extend those allowances through the end of this month.

After the report about Washington’s reduction in that stipend, Doolittle wrote Sunday night that Nationals major leaguers decided unanimously that they “will be coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages.”

“All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times,” Doolittle wrote. “Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled.”

Doolittle isn’t the only major leaguer to pledge support for minor leaguers. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price plans to give each minor leaguer not on the 40-man roster in that franchise’s system $1,000 for the month of June, sources told ESPN, confirming a report by Francys Romero. The Dodgers had already committed to paying their minor leaguers $400-per-week stipends through the end of June.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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2020 Leaderboards – ESPN

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A Los Golpes ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Cronmetro ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 El diario de Martn ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 Es as y punto con Hernn Pereyra ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 ESPN Radio Frmula ESPN Radio Mar 27, 2020 Ftbol Picante ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Jorge Ramos y Su Banda ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 La Butaca ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 Los Capitanes ESPN Radio Mar 27, 2020 NFL Live ESPN Radio Mar 27, 2020 Nos ponemos las pilas con Fernando Palomo ESPN Radio May 19, 2020 Raza Deportiva ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 30 For 30 Podcasts ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 ESPORTS ESPN Radio May 22, 2020 FiveThirtyEight Politics ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Around The Rim ESPN Radio May 4, 2020 Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 SC Featured ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 The Jump ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Bill Barnwell Show ESPN Radio May 20, 2020 Matty & The Caddie ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 College Football Live ESPN Radio May 19, 2020 espnW presents Be Honest with Cari Champion ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 ESPN Media Conference Calls ESPN Radio Apr 20, 2020 The Right Time with Bomani Jones ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 First Draft ESPN Radio Apr 29, 2020 The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Freddie and Fitzsimmons ESPN Radio Mar 12, 2020 NFL Live ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 98.7 ESPN New York: Dave Rothenberg ESPN Radio May 30, 2020 DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Caught Offside ESPN Radio May 26, 2020 ESPN FC ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Best of ESPNLA ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Jalen & Jacoby ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Lowe Post ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Cheap Heat with Peter Rosenberg ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Spain and Company ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 The Paul Finebaum Show ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Marty and McGee ESPN Radio Mar 25, 2020 Around the Horn ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Behind the Bets with Doug Kezirian ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Golic and Wingo ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Highly Questionable ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Outside The Lines ESPN Radio Mar 23, 2020 Courtside with Greenberg & Dakich ESPN Radio May 26, 2020 Fantasy Focus Baseball ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 Fantasy Focus Football ESPN Radio May 19, 2020 First Take ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 ESPN Podcasts ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 ESPN On Ice with Wyshynski and Kaplan ESPN Radio May 27, 2020 In The Gate ESPN Radio May 28, 2020 Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective ESPN Radio Jun 1, 2020 PTI ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Will Cain Show ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap ESPN Radio May 29, 2020 Caught Offside ESPN New York May 26, 2020 The Michael Kay Show ESPN New York May 29, 2020 98.7 ESPN New York: Dave Rothenberg ESPN New York May 30, 2020 DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg ESPN New York Jun 1, 2020 Best of ESPN New York ESPN New York Jun 1, 2020 Mason & Ireland ESPN Los Angeles May 29, 2020 The Sedano Show ESPN Los Angeles May 29, 2020 Weekend Warrior ESPN Los Angeles May 30, 2020 Best of ESPNLA ESPN Los Angeles May 29, 2020

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