Anthony Rendon went 6-for-25 in eight games with the Nationals.
Rendon returns to the minors having struggled at times, both at the plate and in the field, but he finished strong with a 2-for-3 performance last night against the Braves and clearly looked more and more comfortable with each day he spent in the majors.
That should pay dividends down the road when Rendon gets the call again, perhaps for good.
"Oh, I think it's gonna make a great difference, if I do happen to come back," he said. "Your comfortability is going to be a lot higher now. The more things you do, the more ABs you get, the more times you play, obviously you get more comfortable at it. So I think it's gonna help a lot."
Rendon finished with a .240 average (6-for-25) and a .367 on-base percentage thanks to five walks. He reached base in 10 of his final 19 plate appearances and got sharper at third base over his last few games.
Not bad, all things considered, for a 22-year-old with only 57 games of professional experience at the time of his promotion.
"I think he's handled himself well," manager Davey Johnson said. "He's had some quality at-bats. It's not easy coming up here. It's amazing how the opposition can have pitching reports and the guys up here are able to go after certain areas that you're not really able to handle as well. They locate better here. But I think he's made adjustments in the short time he's been here."
Rendon, the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, immediately recognized the difference between the big leagues and Class AA.
"The game is just played a lot smarter up here," he said. "Everyone's pretty much on the same level talent-wise up here. But the way the game is played ... they'll pitch this pitch instead of that pitch, or they'll take something off or they'll play this position over on this hitter. They just play a lot smarter up here, just to better your chances of making that play or winning a ballgame."
Though he could arguably help the Nationals right now off the bench, Rendon needs to play every day and prove he can make it through the grind of a long season after missing most of 2012 with a fractured ankle. The organization wouldn't hesitate to recall him if Zimmerman got hurt again, but in all likelihood, he won't return to the big leagues until September.
Whether he has to wait that long or gets a chance to come back sooner, Rendon heads back to Harrisburg with a full appreciation of his first two weeks as a major leaguer.
"It was awesome," he said. "I mean, it's the highest level you can play. I really don't think it can get much better than this."