Mark Reynolds homers twice in Washington Nationals debut against Arizona Diamondbacks


Mark Reynolds‘ offseason didn’t go much like he expected. But when his 2018 big league season finally got under way Sunday with the Washington Nationals, it undoubtedly exceeded the expectations he had as he debuted with his eighth big league team.

Reynolds went 3-for-4, smacked two home runs and knocked in three in a 6-4 victory in Arizona, where the 33-year-old broke into the majors in 2007.

“That was fun. I was in extended [spring training] and Triple-A a couple of days ago, and it’s good to be back in this atmosphere, under the lights, in a big league uniform,” Reynolds told ESPN’s Buster Olney after the game.

Reynolds said he “definitely had some butterflies” playing his first game as a National, but he said getting a hit in his first at-bat, a single in the first inning, helped him settle down.

Coming off a season in which he hit 30 home runs and drove in 97, Reynolds had to figure there’d be at least a few teams interested in a guy with a power bat and the ability to play first, second, third and even outfield.

But Reynolds, despite being 11th in active career home runs, was among many free agents who had to settle for what they could get. In April, Reynolds signed a minor league deal with the Nationals and reported to Triple-A Syracuse.

“It was tough,” Reynolds said of the wait. “I had a lot of minor league offers, and I felt like I was worth more than that. So I was content sitting home being a dad, coaching my kids, playing a little golf.

“The Nationals called, and I figured if I didn’t go now, I would never go again. So I went and gave it one more shot, and things worked out, and I’m here.”

Reynolds’ opportunity to return to the big leagues came over the weekend, when Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman went on the disabled list with a right oblique strain.

After singling in his first at-bat and popping out in the third, Reynolds led off the sixth with a 413-foot solo blast to left off Zack Godley that boosted Washington’s lead to 4-1.

The Diamondbacks climbed back to tie the score 4-4 before Reynolds uncorked a 415-foot blast to center in the eighth off Archie Bradley that made the difference for the Nationals and their newest middle-of-the-order power bat.

Reynolds has a multihomer game with seven major league teams, which puts him one shy of Mike Cameron for the most ever, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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