WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon entered Friday 2-for-15 (.133) with an RBI since being called up to the big leagues last Sunday.
Rendon acknowledged that he is going through a learning curve, trying to make adjustments and doing the best that he can. He said the nerves went away Wednesday. He now feels comfortable, thanks to his teammates, who are constantly talking to him.
"Coming into the locker room a couple of times and seeing the guys every day, they are getting a little more comfortable with me," Rendon said. "They are talking to me a little more. They are making me feel comfortable. It puts me a little bit at ease. It takes a little bit of stuff off my shoulders, so I can just relax. It's still the same game. I don't need to take it out of context."
Rendon has been on the bench of late as manager Davey Johnson has been starting Steve Lombardozzi at third base. Johnson is using Lombardozzi to jump-start an offense that is near the bottom in the National League. But Johnson said he considers Rendon one of the 25 guys on the roster, but did not say when Rendon would be back in the lineup.
"Lombo has been playing good, and it's a little more difficult when I'm looking for somebody in the lineup to set the table, and [Rendon] is not in that category," Johnson said. "Nothing against his ability, I'm trying to create a lineup that kind of feeds off itself. I'm going about it day by day. I don't like to change a winner. Nothing against Anthony Rendon, he is a heck of a player, he is going to have a heck of career. But we are in the here and now. I'm worried about 25 guys. He'll be back in there."
Rendon noticed the game in the Major Leagues is played a lot more intelligently.
"The people here know how to play the game up here. They are not just using their power, talent, this and that. … They play the game smart, they play the game the right way," Rendon said.
Davey once admired by Hall of Fame GM Rickey
WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson was pleased to learn from broadcasters Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler on Friday that former baseball executive and Hall of Famer Branch Rickey loved Johnson's talent as a player and suggested to then Cardinals general manager Bob Howsam to trade for Johnson, who was playing for the Rochester Red Wings in the Orioles' organization.
The letter that Rickey wrote to Howsam is now stored in the Library of Congress. The letter was written in 1964. It said the following:
Johnson, Dave: (Rochester Infielder)
Tall, slim, right-hander now playing second base. 21 years old. First-year player. Good looking fielder. Good batting form. A Major League possibility. Try to include him in any possible deal with Baltimore.
- Branch Rickey
cc - Mr. Robert L. Howsam
Said Johnson: "Branch Rickey liked me. ... So me and Jackie had something in common," Johnson said, referring to Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947 thanks to Rickey, who was then GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.