VIERA, Fla. -- Third baseman Anthony Rendon is making a strong impression in Nationals camp. Entering Tuesday's action against the Astros, Rendon was 7-for-16 (.438) with two home runs and seven RBIs, both leading the club. He has even showed that but he can handle himself with the glove at third.
But Rendon, 22, knows he will not be with the big club very long. Rendon will start the season with Double-A Harrisburg, where he will play the majority of his games at third. He will also see action at shortstop and second base, according to general manager Mike Rizzo.
"I'm trying to take it one day at a time," Rendon said. "Of course, I'm happy just to be here. I'm doing well this spring. That's a positive, but I know I'm not going to be here that long. Before I go back on the Minor League side, I just want to be remembered. I want them to say, 'Hey, he had a good spring before he left.' That's all I can do."
Rendon has left a good impression with Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson, and both agree that the Nats' No. 1 prospect needs a full season in the Minor Leagues.
"He has an idea on how to get the bat on the ball," Johnson said. "He has good hands, a good stroke. He can play a lot of positions. I like him at third. I also don't mind him at short. … His footwork is real good over [at second]. He just needs to have a full season."
Said Rizzo: "He came into camp in great shape. He has a great attitude. He is getting a chance to play a lot early in camp. He has always impressed us. We always saw the talent level and the skill set. He is just getting the opportunity to show it, he is healthy and hungry. He is really playing well."
Rendon is hoping that his success in Spring Training will carry over into the regular season. A year after becoming the sixth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Rendon spent most of the 2012 season on the disabled list because of a left ankle injury. He played in a combined 43 games for four Minor league affiliates and hit .233 with six home runs, 12 RBIs, and a .363 on-base percentage.
Rendon didn't feel comfortable in professional baseball until he played for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League this last autumn. He played every day at third base and finished 11th in the league in hitting with a .338 batting average.
"I would play all nine innings and practice before the game," Rendon said. "It was just knowing I would do it every day -- day in, day out. I finally realized I was back to normal and doing my own thing."
The Nationals are hoping that Rendon can put up similar numbers that he did at Rice University. In three college seasons, Rendon hit .371 with 52 home runs and 194 RBIs despite playing with ankle and shoulder injuries.
"I just want to go out there and play the game, play a full season," Rendon said. "I'll just try and do my best. I'm not the biggest guy in the world . As long as I get hits, I just want to have a good batting average. The home runs will come later on. If they happen to go out, they go out."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less