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UVa's Mark Reynolds Making a Case to Stick with Nationals

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Mark Reynolds Mark Reynolds

Former University of Virginia baseball star Mark Reynolds is making a case that he still can help a big league team at 34 years old.

After an historic weekend with the Washington Nationals, Reynolds is now batting a career-high .300.

On Friday, Reynolds had a pinch-hit walk-off home run in the ninth inning, giving the Nationals a 3-2 win over the Marlins.   On Saturday, Reynolds made history, becoming only the 15th major league player ever to hit 10 RBIs in a game.

Reynolds went 5-for-5 Saturday with two home runs, two singles and a double in the Nationals 18-4 win over Miami.

"It's obviously very special, it doesn't happen ever," says Reynolds.  "It's very rare to come up to hit with guys on base every time, I got to give credit to my teammates for being able to get on base."

Reynolds signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.   He got off to a fast start when he was called up to the big leagues in May, hitting two home runs in his Nationals debut.     Reynolds has not been an every day starter, but he now has 10 home runs in addition to his .300 batting average.

Reynolds says he considered retiring in the offseason, after he couldn't find a home with any big league team.

"I was semi-retired sitting at home coaching my kids, and then Rizzo called (Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo), says Reynolds.   "I signed, my wife was behind me.  It's tough on her with three boys at home for me to gone in triple-A, my kids wanted me to go, they wanted to meet Bryce Harper so I had to get up here."

Reynolds was called up from the minors in May when Ryan Zimmerman, his college teammate at UVa, was put on the disabled list with an injury.

Reynolds has mostly played first base, replacing Zimmerman, while Zim recovers from an oblique injury.   Now Zimmerman is close to returning to play, but Reynolds says the situation isn't awkward.

"We were surfing together when we were 10 or 11  years old back in Virginia Beach, we're good buddies, says Reynolds.   "We understand, both of us do if you ask him, it is what it is, we're trying to help this team win any way we can, and by no means do I think I'm going to take his spot, he's a legend around here, so I'm taking grounders everywhere in the infield, taking some fly balls, trying to be versatile, make it hard for them to let me go."

Reynolds has also played third base this season for the Nationals.   The Nationals have a record 45-44 and are five games behind the first-place Phillies in the N.L. East.