WASHINGTON – Drew Mendoza took advantage of a change of plans Saturday.
The Nationals were supposed to play the Marlins in an Instructional League game in Florida.
But due to COVID concerns in Miami’s camp, the Nationals played a five-inning intrasquad game and Mendoza had two hits, (including a double), and drove in three as his Team 1 beat Team 2 by a score of 4-0.
Mendoza was drafted in the third round in 2019 out of Florida State, and hit .264 with four homers in 55 games last season for the low Single-A Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League.
The infielder was a late addition to the 60-player pool this summer at the alternate site in Fredericksburg, Virginia and is now getting more experience in Florida.
Pitchers used Saturday for the five-inning contest were Jackson Rutledge (two innings), Cade Cavalli (two), Todd Peterson (two), Cole Henry (two), Matt Cronin (one) and former Virginia Tech pitcher Zachary Brzykcy (one).
Cronin, a lefty who pitched for Hagerstown in 2019, had an immaculate inning as he fanned three batters on nine pitches. He was a fourth-round pick out of Arkansas last year.
Rutledge, a first-round pick in 2019, was pleased with his outing.
“I felt good today especially with the command of my fastball,” Rutledge wrote to Federal Baseball.
“I established strikes early in almost every at-bat and was able to open up the rest of my pitches later, which was the main emphasis of today.”
“I was also successful with a couple early count curveballs which I’ve been working on this past week,” he added.
Cavalli was the first-round pick this past summer out of Oklahoma while Henry was taken in the second round out of LSU.
After three seasons at Virginia Tech, Bryzkcy was signed as a non-drafted free agent earlier this year and turned down a chance to play for the Hokies for a final season in 2021.
Another offensive star Saturday was infielder Viandel Pena, who also had two hits. He played in the Gulf Coast League in 2019.
Saturday was to be the eighth of 12 games between the Nationals and Marlins this month. The original schedule of the Nationals didn’t include games against any other franchises.
The last game of the IL season is slated for Oct. 24 in Jupiter at the home of the Marlins.