Called up on Tuesday as part of a significant overhaul of the Nationals’ roster, rookie Anthony Rendon is expected to play primarily at second base while up with the big league club. He played some at the position in the team’s minor league system and knows it could be his ticket to staying in the majors for good.
“I think I'll be all right,” he said. “Obviously the more reps you get at a position the more comfortable you're going get. I think it just takes time to where I actually get it down to be my best.”
Rendon said second base was actually the first position he remembers playing as a young baseball player, at five or six years old.
“I feel comfortable there,” he said. “I grew up playing second base. That was actually my first position growing up because I was always the small guy on the team so they just threw me at second base. I guess it kind of brings back memories of, you know, doing the same stuff over there. Brings me back to being a kid.”
Rendon was moved to shortstop when he was around ten years old and became a third baseman in high school. He continued at third through college at Rice University and was drafted at the position.
Rendon was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse on June 1 with the idea he would focus on learning second base. Chiefs coach Tony Beasley was a former big leaguer at the position and was able to tutor him.
But three days later Rendon was heading to Washington to learn the ropes at the major league level.
“It's pretty crazy how that works. You really don't realize how much of a mess it could be until you're actually in the middle of it. It's been pretty quick but it's for the best.”
Also a former second baseman, manager Davey Johnson thinks Rendon can pick the position up quickly.
“He did a crash course with me in the spring and he said he played in Little League and he had a pretty good memory because he had pretty good footwork around the bag and transitioned real well,” Johnson said.
“He should be all right. I was real pleased in the spring with his footwork and his transition, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”
Rendon is back with the Nats after going back to the minors on May 2. He was called up and made his major league debut on April 25, playing in eight games with a .240 average before being sent back down. This time he could be up for much longer.