WASHINGTON—Already known as a gamer when he starred at California, second baseman Tony Renda was happy to be playing games nearly every day this summer.
A second-round pick this year, Renda put his urban development degree on hold when he agreed to terms shortly after the draft. He signed for $500,000, which was $130,000 below slot and helped enable the Nationals to sign first-round righthander Lucas Giolito.
"In college you play four days a week and can work on things the other three," Renda said. "Here you can find time in the morning and early afternoon to do the work, and there's nothing better than coming to the ballpark every day and getting to play."
The daily grind means one bad night at the plate can quickly become two or three, Renda said, but he was eager to work his way out of an early slump in the short-season New York-Penn League.
The 21-year-old righthanded hitter hit .230/.329/.257 through 148 at-bats for Auburn with four doubles, 20 walks and 15 strikeouts. He had nine stolen bases in 11 attempts.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Renda helped Cal make it to the College World Series in 2011 after the program was nearly eliminated.
"He's a very smart player who thinks the game very well," Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said. "He's a hard-nosed, tough kid. Obviously he's going to have to have that because he doesn't have the gift of size, but he makes all the plays and has a good approach."
Renda was so focused on baseball that his Chevy Tahoe wasn't even shipped into town until the second week of July.
"It's all go-to-the-park for me. This is the outdoors," he said as he looked out at Falcon Park from outside the Doubledays' clubhouse. "Other than eating and sleeping and watching a little ESPN if I can, this is what it's all about."
• High Class A Potomac righthander Nate Karns, a midseason Carolina League all-star, pitched six no-hit innings in a 9-0 win against Myrtle Beach on July 21. Between low Class A Hagerstown and Potomac, he went 9-2, 1.95 with 122 strikeouts in 97 innings.
• Potomac announced plans to build a new ballpark in Woodbridge, Va., closer to Interstate 95. Under the proposal, the team would spend $25 million as part of a project that would include a commuter garage and retail development.