- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2012

Less than 24 hours after wrapping up the 2012 draft, the Washington Nationals already had agreed to terms with their second- and fourth-round selections and were working toward locking up their third-round choice, among others, scouting director Kris Kline said.

Tony Renda, a second baseman out of Cal-Berkeley, will report to Single-A short-season Auburn soon after agreeing to a deal that a club source said was less than the $630,000 slot for the No. 80 overall pick. Outfielder Brandon Miller, the Nationals’ fourth-round out of Samford, also agreed to terms.

But it is first-round pick Lucas Giolito and third-rounder Brett Mooneyham, a Scott Boras advisee, who likely will cost the Nationals at least slot money and probably more as they try to rebuild their pitching depth that was depleted in the Gio Gonzalez trade. Knowing the signability and cost of the rest of their top 10, Kline isn’t worried.

“I think we’ll actually either break even or come in a little under the wire in the end,” Kline said of locking up all 10 with the allotted $4.4 million. “We had to do our due diligence with signability. Every round we were making telephone calls to see if guys would agree to the money that we were offering.

“If it was a ‘No,’ we passed. If they were hesitant at all, we passed. You have to. You want to sign those first 10-round guys no matter what.”

Mooneyham is expected to sign “relatively quickly,” Kline said, and he spoke excitedly of the 6-foot-5, 235-pound lefty. His control is below average, but he has a fastball clocked in the mid-to-upper 90s, a curveball and a plus changeup.

Lidge returns from DL

The Nationals swapped out right-handed relievers Thursday morning, activating right-hander Brad Lidge from the disabled list, where he’d been for the past 38 games recovering from sports hernia surgery, and placing Henry Rodriguez on it with a strained right index finger.

Rodriguez slammed his finger in the bathroom door last week when the team was in Miami and has been getting treatment on it since. He pitched Tuesday and allowed a run on a wild pitch. Rodriguez said Thursday that he felt much better, but he’ll have time now to ensure that.

“I want to get rid of it right now,” manager Davey Johnson said. “And we have the luxury of having a lot of guys who are available to pitch.”

Around the horn

Nationals minor leaguer and George Washington University product Josh Wilkie was suspended 50 games by major league baseball for a second violation of the Drug Prevention and Treatment program. Wilkie was suspended for using a drug of abuse, not a performance enhancer. Fellow minor leaguers Rafael Martin and Josh Johnson also are on the restricted list for similar violations.

• Bryce Harper was shaken up after diving for David Wright’s triple on Thursday, and Johnson said he’s been nursing a sore back. But Harper downplayed any issue saying: “I’m good. I’m totally fine to play. I won’t be out of the lineup.”

• Amanda Comak can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com.

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