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Rendon records first four-hit outing

Nationals' top prospect plates a pair in Harrisburg's victory
April 14, 2013

There are a number of ways for a prospect to stand out from the crowd and draw the attention of an organization's front office.

Prodigious home runs, intelligent baserunning and elite defense ultimately counts for little if the player can't stay on the field, though.

For top Washington prospect Anthony Rendon, he hopes the "healthy" part of the equation holds true this year.

The third baseman went a perfect 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs in the Double-A Harrisburg Senators' 4-2 win over the host Altoona Curve on Sunday.

"I keep doing little exercises and similar things in my routine to keep my ankles active," said Rendon, who missed three months of his rookie year with a strained ankle in 2012. "They haven't given me any problems since. I want to leave that behind and move forward.

"I'm just trying to take it easy and not do too much up there. I'm just trying to have fun."

The four-hit game stands as the first of Rendon's professional career and his third game with multiple RBIs. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored in short-season Auburn's 11-3 win over Staten Island last Aug. 2, the only other time he collected three hits in one contest.

On Sunday, he beat out an infield single to third base in the first inning and laced a one-out double to left field in the third. Rendon then smacked Tyler Waldron's 1-1 offering the opposite way for an RBI double in the fifth frame before plating Brian Goodwin with a base hit up the middle in the seventh.

"When I get in funks, I try to over-swing and I try to hit the ball too hard, rather than trying to be smooth and barreling it up," said's No. 28 prospect, who also injured his right ankle twice in college.

"I haven't been feeling my best, so I just tried to take it down a notch and the game down for myself and everybody else. I just tried to get back to the basics."

The outing raised Rendon's batting average 81 points to .316.

The third baseman had a solid spring in big league camp with the Nationals, slugging four homers and playing 11 runs in 32 at-bats.

But even a perfect month of March would have done little to help his chances of starting the year in Washington, with the organization knowing ahead of time that he'd need more seasoning in the Minors.

The sixth overall pick in last June's Draft, Rendon batted .233 with six homers and 12 RBIs in 43 games across four levels in 2012. He sprained his ankle running the bases for Potomac on April 7 -- just the second game of his professional career -- and he did not return to action until a rehab spell with the Nationals' Gulf Coast League affiliate in mid-July.

Rendon participated in the elite Arizona Fall League in October and November after the end of the Minor League season. In 22 appearances, the 22-year-old hit .338 with 11 extra-base hits and 11 RBIs against some of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

"[Spring Training] was really good," said Rendon, ranked the third prospect in his position in baseball behind Minnesota's Miguel Sano and Texas' Mike Olt. "I felt a lot more comfortable this year.

"Last year I went into Spring Training for the first time in my first professional season and I had to take a step back a say, 'Wow, I'm actually here.' I didn't just talk to one guy there, everyone has something to offer. I just went around the whole locker room talking to people, even the pitchers. It's helped tremendously."

Rendon's offense helped make a winner of Senators' starting pitcher Brian Broderick (1-0), who allowed a run on five hits and three walks while striking out three batters over five innings.

Harrisburg center fielder Brian Goodwin went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored, and shortstop Jose Lozada collected two hits and two RBIs in the victory.

Altoona right-hander Tyler Waldron (0-2) yielded two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings for the loss.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.