- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
Anthony Rendon sets foundation for return to major leagues
ATLANTA — A day after Anthony Rendon went from being a highly touted prospect to a bona-fide major leaguer, lacing a double into right field for his first hit, the young third baseman sat in the team’s dining room with first base coach Tony Tarasco.
Rendon’s first major league stint was just more than a day old when the hit happened. And Rendon, whose quiet and respectful demeanor has made an impression on teammates, still didn’t know what to make of his experience. Would he stay? Would he be sent back when Ryan Zimmerman was ready to come off the disabled list? How long did he have?
For a moment, as he and Tarasco spoke, he put those questions out of his mind.
“Hey,” Tarasco told him. “It’s official. You got the hit. You’re a big leaguer. Nobody can take that from you.”
Most agree that a long future at this level awaits Rendon, who was summoned from Double-A on April 20 when Zimmerman was placed on the DL with a hamstring strain. After his first taste, those opinions haven’t changed a lick.
“I like the way he plays,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He’s got a calmness about him, in the batter’s box and in the field. I think he’s had some good at-bats against some quality pitching. I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to help us in the near future a lot.”
So much of a player’s first experience in the major leagues is less about the game and more about the peripheral parts of being a big league ballplayer. There, Rendon has excelled. He’s taken a “speak when spoken to” approach that has pleased the veterans, but been a good sport in accepting their ribbing as well.
Teammates call him Mark Sanchez, he said, and smiled as he explained that it’s because he and the New York Jets quarterback “both have luscious, beautiful hair.”
“I think he’s handled himself well,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s had some quality at-bats. It’s not easy coming up here. It’s amazing how the opposition can have pitching reports and the guys up here are able to go after certain areas that you’re not really able to handle as well. They locate better here. But I think he’s made adjustments in the short time he’s been here.”
In seven major league games entering Thursday, Rendon was 4 for 22. But his adjustments could be seen most obviously when he began to walk. A player often praised as a prospect for his strike zone knowledge, Rendon did not walk in his first four games and struck out five times. In the next three, he walked four times and struck out only twice.
The idea that he can take what he’s learned the past 12 days with him when he returns to the minor leagues is also one that the Nationals like. While some, like Bryce Harper, come up and stay, it’s not exactly the norm. And the players who didn’t say it’s the best education they had in their careers.
“In 2003 [with Toronto], I was up and down like three different times,” right fielder Jayson Werth said. “I felt like each time I went down, I went down with more knowledge of the game and a better sense of myself. … I don’t know what my numbers were that year. They weren’t very good. But I felt like that probably the most I learned in any season was that one.”
Rendon has taken things in well, it seems. He has picked up on how “they play the game smarter up here,” and said he expects with more repetition he’ll become more comfortable at this level. Asked if he’s had a “Welcome to the big leagues” moment, Rendon said he hadn’t really, because “I haven’t established myself. I haven’t stayed here long enough.”
When his family arrived at Nationals Park last week, the first thing they did was buy his jersey from the team store. If first impressions count for anything, chances are they’ll have plenty more opportunity to wear it proudly in the future.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal 'not based on trust'
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
White House pets gone wild!