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Anthony Rendon clubbed a two-run homer during yesterday's game.
Anthony Rendon, on the other hand, in no way wanted to be pulled out of the game, delay or not. He wanted another chance to hit, so he hoped Davey Johnson would forget to bench him like everyone else in the lineup.
"We kind of made eye contact, and I was kind of watching him walk around the dugout, telling everybody to sit down," the 22-year-old prospect said. "I was just sitting quiet, making sure he might not see me. And he looks at me and goes: 'You'll get another at-bat.'"
Good thing Johnson let Rendon step to the plate again, because one inning later the kid whacked a two-run homer to right-center, producing the Nationals' only two runs of the game against the Marlins.
"He certainly made it count," Johnson said.
It's early, but Rendon has made a lot count this spring. Healthy at last after a string of shoulder and ankle injuries hindered him in college and in his first season as a pro, he's flashing advanced offensive skills, showing he can hit for power to the opposite field and proving quite adept in the field.
Perhaps the defensive highlight of yesterday's game was Rendon's third-inning play at third base, when he came charging in to snag Chone Figgins' bunt barehanded and then fired a strike to first base to nab Miami's speedy leadoff hitter.
Most third basemen -- Ryan Zimmerman immediately comes to mind -- will make that throw side-armed. Rendon, though, makes it overhand, an impressive sight in itself.
"I've gotten in trouble in the past when I go low on the ball," he said. "It tails more than usual, so I've been told to try to get on top of it a little more."
With Zimmerman obviously entrenched in D.C. for the rest of the decade, Rendon's best chance of contributing to the Nationals will probably come at another position. Johnson would like him to get at-bats this season at both shortstop and second base, and yesterday morning the former second-sacker took his young protege out to the infield behind the stadium to work on some footwork fundamentals.
That was, after Rendon mistakenly showed up for class Saturday evening after the Nationals' Grapefruit League opener in Port St. Lucie and a 90-minute bus ride back to Viera.
After that game, Johnson told the first-round draft pick to meet him on that practice infield "when we're home." The manager meant when the Nationals were at home the following day. Rendon thought he meant as soon as the team bus returned from that day's game, even though that sounded a bit odd and the idea of holding the session the next morning made more sense.
"That's what I figured," Rendon said. "But I was like, 'I don't know. This dude seemed kind of adamant about getting it in. He might want to do it after the game.'"
So Rendon walked over to the coaches' locker room and asked bench coach Randy Knorr if Johnson was there. Knorr gave him a flabbergasted look and informed the kid his manager had long since left.
"It was kind of funny," Johnson said.
The two finally connected yesterday morning and enjoyed a one-on-one session on second base mechanics, though Johnson was impressed Rendon already had much of it down.
"He did great," the manager said. "His footwork around the bag at second was better than I thought it was going to be."
Johnson said he hopes to use Rendon in a game at second base sometime later in camp, and he could see action around the infield at Class AA Harrisburg.
After that, Rendon's future depends on only two things: 1) His ability to stay healthy, and 2) The Nationals' ability to find someplace on the field to play him.