Less than two months after Anthony Rendon all but declared his season was over, the Nationals' top prospect produced one of his best days of the year.
Rendon reeled off the most promising performance of his two-week-old rehab assignment on Thursday, collecting three hits and scoring three runs in Auburn's 11-3 win at Staten Island.
Rendon, the Nationals' No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft, made his Minor League debut this season with Class A Advanced Potomac but was sidelined after just two games when he fractured his ankle rounding third base on April 7. On May 15, the third baseman told the Houston Chronicle that he believed his season was likely over.
"I'm probably not going to come back this year," Rendon told his hometown paper about two years after Houston mayor Annise Parker declared June 29, 2010, to be "Anthony Rendon Day in Houston."
"It wouldn't make any sense to come back and play the last month and try and do something big," he added.
That plan changed in July, when Rendon suited up and appeared in five games for Washington's Gulf Coast League affiliate, going 4-for-11 with two homers. The success was enough for the Nats to move his rehab process to Class A Short-Season Auburn, where he's batting .368 in six games in the New York-Penn League.
Rendon, drafted out of Rice with the No. 6 overall selection last season, suited up for Auburn last season during the DoubleDays' run to the league crown, although he didn't play. He joined the team again on July 26 and has recorded at least one hit in all but one game.
He played seven innings at third base on Thursday a day after he was hit by a pitch in his surgically-repaired left ankle on Wednesday against the Yankees; he was removed from the game after getting beaned for precautionary reasons.
Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said Rendon "ran the bases a bunch today, so I think he will be fine," according to MASN. "Just some swelling where he got hit."
The infielder, 22, homered in his first game with the DoubleDays and has also drawn three walks and scored seven
times. Two of his three hits on Thursday were doubles.
"He looks fine," Cathcart told MASN. "He has had to make a variety of plays the last few days."
Auburn's Estarlin Martinez also had a big game, going deep and driving home five runs in the rout.