Rendon, Purke part of first round of Nats cuts

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals trimmed nine players from their stable of players at big league camp today, including two of their top three picks in the 2011 draft.

First-round pick Anthony Rendon, who has seen time at multiple infield positions this spring, and third-round left-handed pitcher Matt Purke were both optioned to Single-A Potomac.

Infielder Carlos Rivero was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, while six others - right-handed pitchers Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Rafael Martin, catcher Sandy Leon, infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir and outfielders Corey Brown and Xavier Paul - were re-assigned to minor league camp.

The moves leave the Nats with 45 players in big league camp.

Rendon impressed the Nats' brass so far this spring, showing good pop at the plate (all three of his spring base hits were doubles) and impressive versatility in the field. The Rice product was drafted as a third baseman and will likely continue to get time at third in the minors, but the organization will move him around the infield with Ryan Zimmerman locked in at the hot corner for years to come.

Purke allowed one run and five hits in 3 1/3 Grapefruit League innings, striking out three. The lefty also went three scoreless innings with three more strikeouts in an exhibition against Georgetown.

Both players were invited to big league camp because they signed major-league deals that made them part of the Nats' 40-man roster.

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