Mark Reynolds made quite a first impression with his three-hit game, and two home runs, in his debut with the Washington Nationals on Sunday night, with the second blast a two-run homer that ended up being the game winner in the finale with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He also made a veteran decision about the impression he wanted to make when he first got into the Nationals’ clubhouse in Chase Field over the weekend, when he was called up after Ryan Zimmerman went on the Disabled List.
Remember the “SkyChiefs” quote Bryce Harper threw out there during the last homestand?
Reynolds clearly heard it when he was playing in Syracuse for the Nats’ Triple-A affiliate.
“Remember a week ago maybe, Bryce said something about the SkyChiefs,” Reynolds told MLB Network Radio hosts Matt Holliday and Ryan Spilgborghs on Monday, “... and they’re playing with the Triple-A team up there, and whatever, so I wanted to go in in a SkyChiefs sweatshirt and take a picture with Bryce, but that might have been pushing it a little too far.”
Harper later said he wouldn’t have thought it was taking it too far.
“I sat next to him on the plane for five hours last night flying home,” Reynolds said, “.. so we talked about it a little bit, he would have laughed about it, but I didn’t want to make anyone mad right out of the gate.”
Reynolds went with the safe decision. He did, however, say he already feels comfortable in the clubhouse since he’s familiar with a number of his new teammates.
“I know a lot of guys in there, played with [Ryan Zimmerman] forever,” he explained, “been playing against these guys for a long time, played with [bench coach] Chip Hale, [Kevin] Long was my hitting coach in New York, so I know a bunch of these guys. Davey [Martinez] made me feel right at home, right away. He’s awesome.”
Reynolds explained further why he thinks Martinez is awesome in a clip MLB Network Radio posted on Twitter:
So does he know how Martinez and the Nationals plan to use him going forward?
“They told me be ready for the lefties,” Reynolds said, “be ready to come off the bench late in games, and spot start me here and there like I did last night, I assume until Zim gets healthy. Obviously that’s his spot over there at first base, and we’ll go from there. I assume that, you know, they’ve got an All-Star team on the DL right now and once guys start getting healthy things are going to shuffle around, but at this point I’m here today to do whatever they need me to do to help them win.”
Reynolds started at first base on Sunday night, but he’s also played some left field while he got back up to speed with the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate.
“In Triple-A I played left field every day, so they were moving me around and trying to get me to play a bunch of positions so I can be helpful off the bench, give guys days off like [Anthony] Rendon, Matt Adams, or Zim, whoever needs one, just try to be versatile, that’s kind of the key these days for staying around in the big leagues, is playing different positions.”
Just being back in the big leagues is what it’s all about though, Reynolds said.
He got his work in at Triple-A, knowing that he’d either get another opportunity or go home having tried to give it one last shot.
“I wasn’t really in the loop that much,” he said. “I just, I had an out on [May 11th] and I knew I was either going to go to the big leagues or go home, and kind of made that clear from the beginning.
“So I knew I had an end date, something to look forward to, because I hadn’t been in the minor leagues in a long time and it’s ... not fun.”