Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rendon ’

Notes from Nats camp, 2/26

By Andrew Simon

VIERA, Fla. — Wednesday was the Nationals’ second-to-last day of workouts before their Grapefruit League schedule begins on Friday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Here are some notes, observations and photos from the club’s Spring Training complex:

  • Stephen Strasburg threw live batting practice to a group including Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Adam LaRoche and had the catcher’s glove popping with each fastball.

    Stephen Strasburg delivers to the plate during live batting practice.

    Stephen Strasburg delivers to the plate during live batting practice.

  • During batting practice, non-roster right-hander Clay Hensley accidentally drilled second baseman Anthony Rendon in the back with one of his offerings. He apologized profusely, and Rendon was able to laugh it off, even if he’ll likely be sporting a bruise by Thursday.
  • Minor League righty Blake Treinen, coming off a strong season at Double-A Harrisburg, made a good impression while throwing to fellow prospects Steven Souza, Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin. The 25-year-old’s stuff, which manager Matt Williams called “electric,” prompted veteran catcher Koyie Hill to tell Treinen after his session that he’s going to strike it rich during his career.

    Drew Storen comes to the plate using the traditional leg kick he began using late last season.

    Drew Storen comes to the plate using the traditional leg kick he began using late last season.

  • Williams also was impressed with reliever Drew Storen, especially the way he got good action down in the zone with his changeup, drawing some swings and misses.

Tomorrow: The Nats will have a lighter workout day on Thursday, something more like what they will have once games start. They also will be on the field at Space Coast Stadium instead of the complex’s back fields.

Looking ahead: The Nationals announced their lineup for Friday’s game, which will feature the debut of outfielder Nate McLouth. Taylor Jordan will get the start, with A.J. Cole, Christian Garcia, Xavier Cedeno, Manny Delcarmen, Aaron Barrett, Danny Rosenbaum and Tyler Robertson scheduled to follow.

Worth noting: Williams plans to have his veterans make plenty of road trips, including Friday’s, saying “there’s no getting around it,” considering how often the club must go long distances to face Grapefruit League opponents. Asked if that decision includes outfielder Jayson Werth, Williams answered, “It most certainly does.”

Worth quoting: It’s nerve-racking because I’ve never been on this side of it, but at the same time it’s rewarding that we’ve gotten here and now we’re on the verge of starting games and having it ramp up a little bit and have it get a little bit faster for everyone. I’m looking forward to it.” — Williams, on experiencing his first Spring Training as a manager.

Further reading: Brock Peterson, in camp on a Minor League deal, is trying to author a better second chapter to his big league career after struggling following a long-awaited call-up with the Cardinals in 2013. Jordan is excited to make the first start of the spring.

 

Espinosa expects to win job back, says he shouldn’t have played with broken wrist

By Andrew Simon
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — In talking to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams this winter, Danny Espinosa has come away with one clear message.
“Matt and Mike Rizzo both called me in the offseason and told me I’m going to get a fair opportunity to win my job back, and that’s all I can ask for,” Espinosa said on Saturday at NatsFest. “I’ve never asked for anything to be handed to me. But if I get a fair opportunity to win my job back, I feel like I can do it.”
 
Espinosa began last season the same way he spent the previous two, as the Nats’ everyday second baseman. He finished the injury-marred campaign in Triple-A Syracuse, unable to make it back to Washington to try to lift his .158 batting average, and with his future role in the organization seemingly uncertain.
 
After rookie Anthony Rendon grabbed hold of the second-base job in Espinosa’s stead last season, Espinosa will enter Spring Training with a shot to at least make the club as a utility man. But according to Espinosa, Rizzo has talked to him only about winning back his job, not filling a backup role.
 
Williams indicated Espinosa will have every opportunity to earn playing time.
 
“I just think there’s great potential there. I’m not alone,” Williams said. “There were multiple calls, as I understand it, from teams across baseball this offseason [interested in a trade]. So the Nationals aren’t the only ones who are thinking that. Now, he’s got to put it together and he’s got to play and play well and be effectively, so that’s the objective going in.”
 
Better health figures to play a significant role in Espinosa’s comeback.
 
The 26-year-old spent last offseason unable to lift weights because of a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder that he suffered late the previous year. Then, on April 14, he was hit by a pitch that caused a small fracture in his right wrist. Espinosa played through what originally was diagnosed as a bone bruise and didn’t go on the disabled list until early June. After less than two weeks off, he began a rehab assignment at Syracuse and spent the rest of the season there, hitting only .216 with a .566 OPS in 75 games.
“There was times I couldn’t pick my bat up with one hand,” said Espinosa, who believes his rotator cuff wasn’t a problem. “So my wrist was just in a bad place, and I shouldn’t have been playing on it, but I made the choice to try to play on it.
 
“I shouldn’t have been playing. But at the same time, I’m not the doctor reading the film. So I shouldn’t have been playing on a broken wrist the whole year. But you’re told you have a bruise, you have to play through a bruise. Everyone plays through bumps and bruises. I’m not gonna play through a broken wrist. If I’d have known it was a broken wrist, I wouldn’t have been playing.”
 
The Nationals and team physician, Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, were not available for comment.
 
Espinosa had worked with a trainer for the past five five years, but this offseason hired him to be his personal trainer. He’s back lifting weights, and his shoulder and wrist both feel good.
 
“I’m probably stronger at this point in my career than I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “My trainer has done an unbelievable job, he’s put me in a really good place. I feel physically I’m at the top of where I could ever be, almost. He’s done everything for me to get back to where I was and get beyond that, strength-wise. So I feel great.”
 
But even if Espinosa comes to camp in great shape and performs well, he may have a tough time winning an everyday job. Rendon, a top prospect, capably handled a shift from third base as a rookie and showed promise with the bat, hitting .265/.329/.396 with 23 doubles and seven home runs in about 400 plate appearances.
 
A utility role could prove to be a good fit for Espinosa, even if he is aiming higher. Williams believes his defense at both second and shortstop is “Gold Glove-caliber” and that he could handle third base as well, while also having 20-home-run power.
 
Williams also said he can empathize with Espinosa, having gone from leading the league in RBIs with the Giants in 1990 to batting .227 in ‘92.
 
“Sometimes it starts going that way, and you can’t stop it, so I understand that,” Williams said. “What got me out of it, or what gets most guys out of it, is the ability to relax and play. That’s what I want him to do. We’re going to get him a lot of reps at short, a lot of reps at second base, he’s gonna get a lot of at-bats and get his stroke feeling good and if he can do all those things, then he’s got a chance to be a really integral part of the team.”

A big day for Steve Lombardozzi

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

As the Nationals returned from the All-Star break and the losses began to pile up, Steve Lombardozzi waited patiently for his opportunity to make an impact. On Thursday, he got it.

The 24-year-old spelled Anthony Rendon at second base in the Nationals’ series-finale against the Pirates and went 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles, two runs scored, and one RBI. He also made a few big defensive plays, leaving his imprint in every aspect of Washington’s 9-7 walk-off win.

“That’s why I play this game,” he said. “I want to get in there and give this team a boost, get some energy and try and give us a spark. And I was able to do that today. It was a fun win, and a big one.”

Since the day that he first joined the Nationals in September 2011, Lombardozzi has more or less been a bench player. He has played three positions this season and pinch-hit 34 times. And after filling in for an injured Danny Espinosa in May, he hasn’t had consistent playing time all season.

“You want to help, so I cheer from the bench when I’m not playing,” Lombardozzi said, “but it’s good to get in there and pick these guys up a bit and get them going.”

Lombardozzi’s bunt single in the first inning helped the Nationals get on the board early, and his ground-rule double to left field in the eighth inning scored Roger Bernadina, the first of three much-needed insurance runs.

“Lombo’s unbelievable,” Bryce Harper, who won the game with a two-run homer in the ninth, said. “He’s an unbelievable player, he has been since the first time I met him in the fall league. He can play second base like no other and he can swing it. He’s a .300 hitter and I really believe he’s going to help us down the stretch. He’s a great ballplayer.”

Lombardozzi wasn’t sure that he would even be playing in Thursday’s game until a few hours before first pitch. Ian Desmond missed Wednesday’s game with a blister on his hand, and when he was a late addition to the lineup on Thursday, Lombardozzi thought he would go back to the bench. Instead, manager Davey Johnson decided to rest Rendon and give Lombardozzi a rare day of multiple at-bats.

“It’s a whole different ball game when you get a start, know you’re going to get 3, 4, 5 at-bats,” Lombardozzi said. “So it’s a completely different mindset, and again it’s fun to get out there and compete.”

Anthony Rendon’s All-Star month

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

Anthony Rendon hasn’t been around long, and his name isn’t even on the All-Star ballot. Several other National League second baseman have more at-bats, more home runs, more experience and more name recognition.

But over the past three weeks, nobody has played more like an All-Star than Rendon.

The 23-year-old went 3-for-4 at the plate on Wednesday with two singles, one double and a towering fly ball that landed a few feet short of the left-field fence. Since being recalled by the Nationals on June 4, he is batting .392 with nine doubles and a game-winning home run. Since June 8, only one National League player — Mets third baseman David Wright — has more hits.

“He’s swung the bat like a veteran,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s hit every pitch that’s thrown up there at him. He’s got a quick bat and he’s aggressive, he hits all types of pitches.”

The biggest knock against Rendon is obviously his limited number of at-bats. He’s only played in 26 Major League games and his next at-bat will be his 100th at this level. His numbers, while stellar, could easily be indicative of a hot streak rather than a great hitter.

But if the All-Star game truly is about fielding the best player at each position in mid-July, can you completely write off Rendon? While his sample size might be small, Rendon has proven that he is as capable a hitter as anybody in the Nationals lineup. And while Brandon Phillips and Marco Scutaro are the two top vote-getters at the position so far, neither has been as valuable to his lineup over the past month as Rendon.

“Obviously hitting .350 or whatever, [he's had] a pretty good effect,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “We all knew he could hit, and for him to play second base like he has with really no experience there… you really couldn’t ask for him to do any more than he’s done.”

Johnson has been impressed by Rendon’s poise and control at the plate, namely his ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field. While other young hitters have a tendency to pull the ball, Rendon has consistently recorded opposite-field hits and line drives up the middle.

He says he’s using the same approach that he’s used his whole life.

“The game hasn’t changed since I was a little kid,” he said. “[The] strike zone, plate’s still the same size. The bases might have gotten a little bit longer, but that’s pretty much it.”

Stretch out Rendon’s numbers as if he were here all season and the results are impressive. If Rendon maintained his current averages and had as many at-bats as leading vote-getter Phillips (287, or about 3.6 per game), he would lead National League second baseman in hits (106), doubles (30), batting average (.354), on-base percentage (.402) and slugging percentage (.485). He also would rank fifth in runs (36) and walks (24).

Could Rendon hit like this for three straight months? Probably not. Is there any chance that his fellow players will vote him onto the All-Star roster with only a month of Major League experience? Probably not.

But when you talk about Nationals and All-Stars, Rendon has at least earned a place in the conversation.

Nats’ Johnson plans to make changes to lineup

After watching his team get swept by the Cardinals, Nationals manager Davey  Johnson announced that infielder Steve Lombardozzi will start at third base against the Reds on Thursday.

The Nationals are looking for someone who can spark the offense at the top of the lineup. Lombardozzi will most likely hit second, which means Anthony Rendon will sit on the bench and Jayson Werth will move down in the order and hit fifth.

During the three-game series against the Cardinals, the Nationals scored three runs on 17 hits. Washington is now on a six-game losing streak at home.

“I’m going to have to juggle it up and do a few things tomorrow. Change the mind set,” Johnson said. ‘I’m going to get Lombo in the lineup, get him hitting in the top of the order. Move Werth around. He said some things to me after the ballgame. So just shake some things up a little bit. Little different roles.”

Lombarzozzi has been productive coming off the bench this season, going 10-for-29 [.333]  with three RBIs. When second baseman Danny Espinosa was out of the lineup because of a hand injury last week, Lombardozzi went 7-for-21 (.333) with three RBIs.

“Lombo is a great player. He has a little bit of stability. He is not a guy that goes out of his comfort zone,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “He is a very disciplined player. His routine as far as at-bat to at-bat and defensively, he is that sound [player] that we need.”

Werth, was hitting second, agreed with Johnson about putting Lombardozzi near the top of the order.

“He could help jump-start the offense. That’s fine,” Werth said. “I don’t care where I hit. We need to do something to switch it up and get the offense going. We are not manufacturing runs, not getting timely hits. Like I said, things are not going our way. Hopefully, that will help.”

Rendon has struggled since he was promoted to the big leagues on Sunday.  After four games, he is 2-for-15 with an RBI. Rendon replaced Ryan Zimmerman, who is on the disabled list because of a hamstring injury.

“Zimmerman is a big part of our lineup. He is right there in the middle. He could hit three or four either way,” Werth said. “That is a guy you are going to miss no matter what. Even without him, our lineup is pretty tough. We have to get by without him for now. It doesn’t seem like he’s too bad, so he’ll be back soon. In the meantime, guys are going to have to step up.”

Harrisburg has awesome roster

Look at this roster for Double A Harrisburg. It’s awesome. Manager Matt LeCroy has a lot to work with this year.

Pitchers

Aaron Barrett

Brian Broderick

Caleb Clay

Paul Demny

Marcos Frias

Trevor Holder

Neil Holland

Nathan Karns

Ian Krol

Pat Lehman

Matt Swynenberg

Blake Treinen

Rob Wort

Catchers

Jeff Howell

Sandy Leon

Kris Watts

Infielders

Rick Hague

Josh Johnson

Joe Lozada

Sean Nicol

Anthony Rendon

Matt Skole

Outfielders

Justin Bloxom

Brian Goodwin

Destin Hood

Steven Souza

Game 117: Nationals at Giants

Adam Berry here on the shores of McCovey Cove, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

A few quick updates from AT&T Park…

-The Nationals have a potential return date set for shortstop Ian Desmond, and it’s a bit sooner than expected. Washington’s All-Star shortstop will be activated for Friday’s series opener against the Mets, provided he gets through his full pregame workouts Tuesday and Wednesday and a simulated game Thursday without incident.

“I plan on, unless Mike Rizzo ties my hand behind my back, activating him. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Nats manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s a horse. I want him back. We all want him back.”

-Jayson Werth is back in the Nats’ starting lineup. Werth reported to AT&T Park with his right ankle feeling much better than it did yesterday, when he was a late scratch from the lineup.

-Michael Morse, meanwhile, was held out of the lineup with a jammed right thumb, which caused him to leave last night’s game early. Johnson hoped to have him back for Wednesday’s series finale, assuming he’s in full health by then, but mentioned that he might not return until Friday.

-Desmond’s sim game on Thursday will be pitched by Chien-Ming Wang, who was recently pulled off his rehab assignment. If he looks fine there, Wang will “more than likely” restart his rehab assignment, Johnson said.

-Speaking of players who will likely join the Nats roster in September, Johnson said Anthony Rendon, promoted earlier today to Double-A Harrisburg, could be a candidate to be called up once the active rosters expand.

“He might be. We’ll see how he finishes up,” Johnson said. “This is the year of the young guys all around baseball, and he’s another one right in that mold.”

As for tonight’s lineups…

Nationals (72-44)
Danny Espinosa SS
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Tyler Moore LF
Jesus Flores C
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Jordan Zimmermann RHP

Giants (63-53)
Angel Pagan CF
Marco Scutaro 2B
Melky Cabrera LF
Buster Posey C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Brandon Crawford SS
Madison Bumgarner LHP

Nats’ Rendon suffers ankle injury

Class A Potomac third baseman Anthony Rendon suffered a badly sprained left ankle while running the bases in a 7-2 loss to Lynchburg on Saturday. X-Rays were negative. It’s not known how many games he will miss.

Rendon hurt the ankle in the fourth inning. After a hitting a double, Rendon was trying to score on a bloop single to center by Justin Bloxom. Rendon went down with the ankle injury after rounding third base.

Rendon is a player who has a history of injuries — he’s had shoulder and ankle problems in the past. But that didn’t stop the Nationals from making him their top pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

In 63 games that year, Rendon hit .327 with six home runs, 27 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .520 for Rice University.

Thus far, Rendon has played in two games for Potomac and is 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Rendon will play third base for Nats organization

After the Nationals selected third baseman Anthony Rendon with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, some wondered if he would make a position switch because they already have Ryan Zimmerman at the position for years to come.

But general manager Mike Rizzo said on Monday night that Rendon will remain at third. But a baseball source indicated that Rendon could move to another position like second or first base in the future.

In 63 games, Rendon hit .327 with six home runs, 27 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .520 for Rice University. The Nationals feel Rendon is on the fast track to the big leagues.

Zimmerman understands Rendon selection

After the Nationals selected third baseman Anthony Rendon with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, the question was, what position will he play, since the team already have a third baseman for years to come in Ryan Zimmerman?

There is a strong possibility that Rendon could be switched to second or first base, but the Nationals have not determined their plans.

After playing his second rehab game Monday, Zimmerman said he understood why the Nationals selected a player who plays the same position as he does.

“I better shape up, huh?” Zimmerman asked jokingly. “Obviously the point of the draft is to take the best player available. Whether he’s a shortstop and you have Jose Reyes or he’s a first baseman and you have Albert Pujols, if that’s the best guy, you take him. Talent plays in the big leagues. We’ll see, but I’m sure they have a plan.”

Zimmerman, who is on the disabled list because of an abdominal strain, is currently on a rehab assignment. On Monday, he played for Class A Potomac and went 2-for-3 with a double.

The Nationals are hoping that Zimmerman can be activated from the DL when the Nationals play the Cardinals starting June 14th at Nationals Park.

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