Rendon making strides in AFL to look the part defensively

Nationals prospect Anthony Rendon continues to work on his defense at third base as the Arizona Fall League’s Salt River Rafters work through their schedule.

At the plate, it is all about timing.

“I am just trying to get my rhythm back while I am hitting,” Rendon said. “I am trying to get more efficient and getting started earlier to be ready to hit.”

Defensively, though, Rendon admitted there has been a perception that he looks on the field like he isn’t all the way into every pitch. He says that is not close to what he sees in his set-up.

“On defense, I guess I am working to look more like a baseball player or look more ready,” Rendon said. “I have gotten a lot of criticism over the years of looking like I am lazy at third base. I am just really relaxed out there. I am having a good time.

“I have to prove these naysayers wrong that I don’t look like I am ready to play out there, or I am too nonchalant. That is just how I am and I like to stay relaxed out there. It doesn’t mean that I am not playing hard.

“I have had a lot of outsiders say it doesn’t look like I am ready or I don’t look too aware out there. (They say) it looks like I am just going through the motions. I am really not. I guess I got to do something different to make it look like more of a ballplayer.”

Rendon said he has always taken pride in his defense and he works on it just like he would his hitting approach.

“That is the crazy thing,” Rendon said. “I am ready out there. I feel ready and I know I am ready. I guess it looks different from the outside view.”

But the determination for Rendon is what drives him to come back in 2013 and have a full season healthy, a goal that many prospects desire to prove they can handle the “grind” of 162 games.

“I am ready to move forward,” Rendon concluded. “This wasn’t a good year for me obviously, I got hurt again. After finishing up with Fall League, (I will) then come back to spring training stronger than ever and ready to prove to people I can play a full season.”

After the Rafters wrap up Arizona Fall League competition in mid-November, Rendon will take a week or so off and then get back into the weight room so he can become “bigger and stronger” and get ready for spring training.

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