Rendon to learn, play second at Triple-A
ATLANTA -- Back in April, Anthony Rendon showed he could play Major League-caliber third base, filling in admirably in eight games for the injured Ryan Zimmerman.
Heading into June, it appears that the Nationals would like to see if their 2011 first-round Draft pick can do the same thing at second.
Rendon, the club's No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday with the mission to get some action at both third and second.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson, who played 13 Major League seasons at second for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, stressed that even with Rendon's experience there in high school and college, and even after giving Rendon what he called a "crash course" in the footwork around second, that mastering the footing around the base is vital not only to playing the position but, more important, staying healthy.
"It's very important to learn footwork," he said. "It took me probably two months to where I didn't have to see the bag. I became comfortable with coming from that angle. You need to be able to get to the bag, know where it is, then go to the ball, step toward the ball, make your pivot and without looking down at the bag and putting your foot on it. Because all that takes time and then also, fundamentally, if you peak at all and don't have position, then you get hung up and you really get hurt. So the transition is important and footwork is important."
Syracuse manager Tony Beasley also will come in handy in helping Rendon make the transition.
"I think Beasley can help him a great deal about what's required of him over there," said Johnson. "Beasley knows his way around that bag real well and he'll be able to help him. So, if he's playing down there in games, he won't be at risk."
Washington's starting second baseman Danny Espinosa entered Saturday's game hitting .164 with three homers and 12 RBIs, but has valiantly battled injuries, as he's playing through a torn rotator cuff and a chip fracture in his right wrist.