VIERA, Fla. - Anthony Rendon knows that he’s been labeled injury-prone by some around the league.
He knows that scouts and fans have seen him suffer three ankle injuries in a four-year span, with a shoulder injury thrown in there, as well.
The former first-round pick understands that some might doubt whether he can put together a full, healthy season and deliver on the promise that led many to label him the top prospect out of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
All Rendon can do now is go out and play and hope that his body holds up.
“I’ve just got to leave the past in the past and I guess look forward to what’s ahead of me,” Rendon said.
Last season, it was a fractured ankle suffered in the first week of his professional career that set him back. Rendon injured the ankle while rounding third base, and it cost him most of the summer. He eventually worked back after some grueling rehab, but even when Rendon was healthy enough to return to action, he was still fighting off rust from four months away from live games.
In 21 games at Double-A Harrisburg upon his return, Rendon batted just .162 with seven extra-base hits in 68 at-bats. His on-base percentage was a lowly .305, and he slugged just .368.
“I remember going up and hitting, coming up through rehab, and I was like, ‘Man, where do I stand? I forgot how to do this. Where do I position my hands and everything?’ ” Rendon said. “But yeah, as I got more ABs, I felt I got more comfortable, and I think that showed towards the end of the (Arizona) Fall League when I got more ABs and started to feel better.”
Rendon really came on during fall league play, batting .338 in 22 games with 10 doubles and a triple. He also walked 15 times compared to just 14 strikeouts, allowing him to reach base at a ridiculous .436 clip.
“I just proved to myself that I could come back, be healthy and play with the best of the best,” Rendon said. “The fall league is, I guess, the cream of the crop, essentially, so going out there right after the injury and going straight into it, I had a little rough patch, but then I picked it up and played baseball like I used to.”
In camp this spring, Rendon will likely get some time at third base (his natural position), shortstop and possibly even second base. Manager Davey Johnson said while Rendon will play third in the minors this season, he wants to give the 22-year-old some pointers at second over the next couple of weeks.
That’s something Rendon is open to.
“Growing up, I was always the smallest guy on the field, so I pretty much roamed all around the infield and outfield anyways,” he said. “I’ve pretty much played every position. I know I’ve got great teachers here, and if I mess up, I know they’re going to tell me something. So I’m just learning right now, just taking everything in.
“The more experience you have at any position, the more use they can get out of you. So I feel like if I can just learn as much as I can, I can try to be more of an asset to the team.”