Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rendon ’
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.”
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.
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.”
Look at this roster for Double A Harrisburg. It’s awesome. Manager Matt LeCroy has a lot to work with this year.
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…
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
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
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.
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.
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.
What do third baseman Anthony Rendon, right-hander Alex Meyer and outfielder Brian Goodwin have in common besides being selected by the Nationals in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft on Monday? All three are represented by agent Scott Boras.
In fact, since 2009, the Nationals have selected five players represented by Boras during the first day of the Draft. Two of those players are right-hander Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper. Both players didn’t agree to terms with the club until deadline day which is usually in the middle of August.
Can Washington sign Rendon, Meyer and Goodwin before the deadline, which is Aug. 15th? General manager Mike Rizzo believes he can.
“We are going to try our best to get all three of them signed,” Rizzo said. “These are guys we have identified and I think are going to be a big part of the organization. We are always optimistic that we could get them signed. That’s why we take them. That’s why we do all of this work to evaluate them. We are going to make an attempt to get all three of them signed.”
The last first-round pick not to sign with the Nationals was right-hander Aaron Crow in 2008. He is now a Major League closer with the Royals.
For the second straight year, the Nationals selected a hitter with their first pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. On Monday night, they selected third baseman Anthony Rendon of Rice University with the sixth pick.
The question is what position will he play, since the Nationals 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.
The Nationals feel Rendon is on the fast track to the big leagues.
“Right now, we feel that third base is his position,” general manager Mike Rizzo said about Rendon. “We evaluate him as a Gold Glove-caliber defensive guy at third base. We are going to delay that decision [as far as making a position switch]. We’ll make that decision down the road.
“I think he is a terrifically polished college player. I think he will be a quick-to-the-big-leagues type of guy, as far as the normal course of a drafted player. But we are not going to put any stipulations or timetables like that. We really feel good about this player. This is a guy that we had at the top of our draft board for a long time. We feel good with who we selected.”
It’s obvious that the Nationals were not turned off by Rendon’s history with injuries. He had shoulder and ankle problems in the past.
“We got all the medical reports and films, our doctors have gone over them painstakingly, and we feel good about it,” Rizzo said.
Injuries didn’t appear to slow Rendon’s season in 2011. In 63 games, he hit .327 with six home runs, 27 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .520 for Rice.
“He has a terrific batting eye. He has great pitch recognition, a tough guy to strike out,” Rizzo said. “He uses the whole field. He is very balanced. He has great raw power.
Along with the line-drive stroke, we feel he is a very efficient hitter and capable of hitting for a high average and for power.”
This year marked the first time since 2008 that the Nationals didn’t have the first overall pick in the Draft. The previous two Drafts, the Nationals selected right-hander Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper with the top overall picks, in 2009 and last year, respectively. Rizzo said it wasn’t hard having five teams pick ahead of them this year.
“We lined up our six best players in the order that we thought we liked them,” Rizzo said. “We were really satisfied with the top six players. We knew we were going to get a good player in the Draft, and when it was our turn to pick, we had Anthony’s name at the top of our list and we pulled it and we feel good about it.”
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at noon ET Tuesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.