6/27/2014 9:17 P.M. ET
Dreams revisited: Rizzo enjoys Chicago return
By Joe Popely / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Mike Rizzo's initial childhood dream was never realized, but he's pretty happy with the consolation prize.
"I used to see myself playing shortstop here for the Cubs," Rizzo said. "I guess your dreams and your fantasies adjust as time goes on. Sitting in those bleachers and in the grandstands, I used to think all the time about being a Cub and playing in Wrigley Field."
Rizzo, who grew up approximately three miles west of Wrigley Field on Waveland Avenue, was a big Cubs fan growing up and attended 20-30 games per year. Now the Nationals' general manager and president of baseball operations, he's able to enjoy many of the same perks he would have been granted had he managed to become captain of the Cubs' infield.
"First of all, the ballpark, it really is like a cathedral," Rizzo said. "Just being out here and actually getting to, because of my position and where I'm at, you're on the field and you're doing things that you dreamed about when you were kids, laying on this field, and this is the next best thing to it.
"The ballpark aura itself is one thing, and just coming back and with a team that you helped build is humbling, and it's pretty fun."
In addition to taking the Addison Street bus with his sibling to Cubs games, Rizzo also ventured to games at Old Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. It was that organization that gave him his first job in Major League Baseball following a brief Minor League playing career and a stop at the University of Illinois.
Rizzo was hired by then-Sox GM Larry Hines as an area scout, an experience that got him started on the path to his current destination. He still maintains a strong relationship with Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
"He was one of the greatest owners you could ever work for, and I still keep in contact with Jerry and bounce things off him and call him for advice on certain things," Rizzo said. "They're near and dear to my heart. I spent six tremendous years with them."
Nats to recall Cedeno for twin bill, option Hill
CHICAGO -- Following Friday's 7-2 loss to the Cubs, Nationals manager Matt Williams said the club will recall left-hander Xavier Cedeno for Saturday's doubleheader.
Cedeno has a 1.56 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 15 appearances covering 17 1/3 innings for Triple-A Syracuse this season. He's made two scoreless appearances for the Nationals this year, one on April 21 vs. the Angels and the other June 14 at St. Louis, covering 2 1/3 innings.
To make room for Cedeno, the Nats will option righty Taylor Hill back to Syracuse. Hill, who was called up earlier this week, allowed two earned runs 4 1/3 innings over his two appearances. Williams said Hill will go back to the starting rotation at Syracuse, where he's posted a 1.92 ERA in 15 appearances, 14 of them starts.
Williams: Desmond, Werth not overworked
CHICAGO -- Ian Desmond generally does his best to avoid conversations with manager Matt Williams that involve taking a day off. Desmond played in 154 games in both 2010 and '11, and 158 in 2013.
Desmond has played in 77 of Washington's 78 games entering Friday -- his only game off came June 5 -- but Williams isn't concerned about his shortstop's heavy workload.
"I look at it, and I see him playing in the infield and getting to balls, that's the indicator to me," Williams said. "His legs aren't heavy, he's moving around OK, he's made some great plays in the last week. So that indicates to me that he's fine, physically."
Williams also noted that Desmond has some time off coming up. He said Desmond will play in only one of the two games in Saturday's doubleheader with the Cubs, which is followed by a rare Sunday off-day. The club then returns home for a three-game set with the Rockies that's followed by another off-day on Thursday.
Desmond leads the team with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs but is hitting a career-low .237, which Williams maintained isn't because of a lack of rest. Williams said Desmond is simply expanding the zone too much.
Joining Desmond in the iron man competition is outfielder Jayson Werth, who's played in 76 games.
"Sometimes you've got to pull the plug on them. ... They're all in the same boat," Williams said. "They'll get one on Sunday, they'll get another one on Thursday, and hopefully that allows them to get some rest."
Both were in Friday's starting lineup, with Werth hitting third and Desmond seventh.
Seizing everyday role, Rendon seeks ASG
CHICAGO -- Anthony Rendon made quite an impression in 2013, when he played in 98 games for the Nationals. Given a full season, he's turning even more heads this year.
Last season, Rendon came up from the Minor Leagues in late April but only stayed until May 2. He was then recalled for the rest of the season on June 5, and in 351 at-bats, hit .265 with seven homers and 35 RBIs while playing primarily second base.
Rendon made a good enough impression to earn a starting spot with the Nationals to open this season and has taken full advantage. He's hitting .273, leads the team in runs scored (49) and ranks second with 12 homers and 44 RBIs. He's also made a position change, taking over for Ryan Zimmerman at third, and has done a solid job in an effort to make his first All-Star team.
"He is an All-Star for sure in my eyes," said hitting coach Rick Schu. "He has been so consistent for us, grinding every day and getting big hits. He has been playing a great third base. With the game on the line, he will give you a quality at-bat."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
• Williams made a slight change from Thursday's lineup, flipping Desmond and Wilson Ramos, who was activated from the disabled list before the game. Ramos hit sixth and Desmond seventh in Friday's order.
"Just wanted to take a look at Wilson last night," Williams said. "Any time somebody comes back from a rehab start, we want to make sure we ease him in, but he looked good last night, swinging the bat well. We put him back in a little bit of a normal spot, a little bit more speed at the bottom of the order."
• Because the Cubs regularly employ five left-handed hitters in their lineup, Williams was asked if he would consider calling up a southpaw reliever for Saturday's doubleheader. The most likely candidate would be Xavier Cedeno, who has a 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings at Triple-A Syracuse.
"We'd have to make a roster move for that, but that's an option for tomorrow, sure," Williams said. "We'll look at that after the game today."
• Entering play Friday, Denard Span's 31 extra-base hits (25 doubles, five triples, one home run) lead all big league leadoff hitters.
• Washington's .550 winning percentage (194-159) by its Minor League system ranks fifth among MLB's 30 franchises.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.