Paint splatter accent With Ian Desmond gone, Anthony Rendon is stepping up

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VIERA, Fla. — Behind the pearly white smile, quick swing and flashy defense at third base, Anthony Rendon is reserved. His interests include hanging out with family, golfing, watching the Houston Rockets and sleeping. He shuns attention and is often terse in interviews. But Rendon will try to come out of his shell this season for a worthy cause.

At the urging of former Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, Rendon will join the board of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and become the lead player spokesman for the team’s charitable arm. And in doing so, the 25-year-old will find himself in the spotlight more than ever because helping inner-city kids means so much to him.

“I’m slowly trying to get out of my comfort zone,” Rendon said, sitting in the dugout at Space Coast Stadium after a morning workout. “That’s the hardest part, getting out of my comfort zone and doing more in the public, for the kids or for the team. That’s not the type of person I am. I’m trying to mature and work on that. And understand that, if I want to do something and put my mind to it, there’s going to be other variables that come with it. I’ve got to learn how to handle it and do it.”

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