MESA, Ariz. — The Nationals’ first-round pick from the 2011 draft, Anthony Rendon, is still not expected to attend the Arizona Fall League, according to Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris. Rendon, who spent his time down at the Instructional League continuing to build strength in his throwing shoulder, has not played a live game since his season at Rice ended last spring.
He is not expected to, either, until he arrives at major league spring training in February. Rendon, the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, spent much of his final season at school playing as a designated hitter and then shut things down for his body to heal after an injury-plagued year that zapped a lot of his strength.
Once he signed with Washington, they put him on a throwing program for the third baseman to regain that strength and when the time came to make a decision on sending him to the Arizona Fall League, the Nationals felt it would be too much too fast.
In his place, Washington sent infielder Zachary Walters who has played mostly third base and performed well in a small sample size. He has impressed many scouts on hand.
“Really, at the end of the day, when we got Anthony in instructional league and having DH-ed primarily throughout the course of the spring at Rice and having not played during the summer time we felt like it was an aggressive move to consider the fall league,” Harris said. “We really wanted to build a strong foundation for him going into the season in 2012. The Fall League is a tremendous opportunity for an organization and a player but ultimately we felt like it was in our best interests and his best interests long-term to really focus on building that foundation.”
There were some conflicting reports recently that Rendon, who is at home in Texas now and continuing to strengthen his shoulder as well as go through a regular conditioning program through the offseason, still may end up in Arizona before the Fall League season is complete, but that is not accurate.