TRENTON, NJ – By all accounts, Trenton Thunder second baseman Tony Renda is glad to be here.
Renda, 24, known for his hustling style of play, came to the Yankees system June 11 in exchange for right-handed reliever David Carpenter. He brings an added dimension to the Thunder.
“Tony’s a hard-nosed player, gives us speed. We like him a lot. We made the trade, so he’ll be playing,” said Thunder manager Al Pedrique prior to the opener of a three-game with the Reading Fightin’ Phils at Arm & Hammer Park Tuesday night.
Renda went 1-for-4 in his first Thunder (35-29) hone game, an 8-2 loss to Reading before 4,796. He made two spectacular plays in the field. Lefty Caleb Smith pitched six shutout innings, but faltered in the seventh.
Many Yankees fans wondered just what kind of return the team would get for Carpenter, who came with Chasen Shreve from Atlanta for Manny Banuelos last New Year’s Day. He was supposed to be a key right-handed part of the Yankees bullpen, but it was not to be.
“I found out about the trade in New Britain,” Renda said. “It was a 10:30 (morning) game. I was called into the manager’s office and talked to the farm director. You go numb. It comes as a shock. Like a mixture of shock and excitement..
“When I heard it was Yankees, I figured I was coming here. Glad I was nice to those guys and didn’t take anyone out,” he said with a chuckle. “They did let me ride the bus back to Harrisburg (where he met the Thunder Friday).”
It was an interesting transition.
“I had to move my bags from the home Harrisburg clubhouse to the visiting clubhouse. I was batting against the guy I won $20 in cards from. It was weird.
“I tried to pretend it was Spring Training, because that is what we do. I did start feeling comfortable by my fourth at-bat.”
With the Nationals bullpen suffering through a spate of injuries, rumors of a trade for a reliever or two were flying through the organization.
“You hear guys will be traded.” Read said. “Still, when it’s you, it’s still a shock.”
Renda entered Tuesday night’s game batting .258 (55-for-213). A disciplined hitter, he has struck out just 19 times and has 13 steals. He plays excellent defense and adds a lot of energy to the Thunder lineup.
When the trade was announced, Twitter exploded with questions of how Renda and Rob Refsnyder compare. Renda could care less.
“Those (where people play) are not my decisions,” said Renda, who won the Carolina League batting title with a .307 (127-for-404) effort in 2014. “All I can control is my work-ethic. I don’t pay attention and really don’t know about anything else.
“I’m always looking to improve,” he said. “But baseball is not a perfect game., You are going to fail most of the time.
One friend and former Cal-Berkeley teammate was a sight for sore eyes for Renda.
“I was really glad to see (outfielder) Danny Oh,” he said. “Not only did we play together at Cal, but also for the (St. Cloud) Rox in the Northwoods League. That made the transition a lot easier.”
He also is glad to play with Aaron Judge and Greg Bird.
“I played against Aaron when he was at Fullerton,” said Renda. “He was impressive then. I played against both of them in the Arizona Fall League.
“I’m really excited about getting new instruction and working with new guys.”
The Yankees are glad to have him in their fold as well.
ROSTER SWITCHES – In player moves Tuesday, LHP James Pazos was promoted to Triple-A Scranton and RHP Caleb Cotham returned to the Thunder. RHP Anduray Acevedo also returned to the Trenton roster.
C Gary Sanchez was placed on the disabled list with a right hand injury.