NEW YORK (AP) - Matt Reynolds was home in Oklahoma just a few weeks ago, his minor league season complete.
Now, he’s hoping to make his major league debut for the New York Mets - in the postseason, no less!
“It’s pretty crazy,” Reynolds said Monday after being called up to replace injured shortstop Ruben Tejada on New York’s roster for the remainder of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Honestly, I don’t feel that nervous. I just keep telling myself it’s the same game. Just bigger stage,” Reynolds added. “It’s going to be fun.”
If the 24-year-old shortstop does get in a game - manager Terry Collins has made no promises - he’d make a bit of history.
Reynolds would become the second player since the first World Series in 1903 to make his big league debut in the postseason, according to STATS. Mark Kiger did it for Oakland in 2006, appearing in two playoff games as a defensive replacement - his only two appearances in the majors.
“At some place along the line you’ve got to enter the big stage. This is a little more difficult than others, but you know what? He’s the highest-ranking shortstop we’ve got,” Collins said. “So he was the guy we needed to bring here.”
New York announced the move Monday, hours before the Mets beat the Dodgers 13-7 at Citi Field to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series was tied 1-all.
Reynolds didn’t play but he did his share of the lifting, though. The rookie gave Tejada a piggyback ride to the dugout before pregame introductions.
Even though Reynolds has no major league experience and was not on the 40-man roster, the Mets tabbed him as insurance because they had no other healthy options who are comfortable at shortstop. Wilmer Flores will take over for Tejada as the starter, but reserve infielder Juan Uribe is sidelined with a chest cartilage injury. Kelly Johnson played shortstop for the first time in his career in late September.
Reynolds batted .267 with six homers and 65 RBIs this season for Triple-A Las Vegas, a drop-off from 2014, when he was the team MVP after hitting .333 in 68 games.
Known more for his bat than glove, Reynolds wasn’t called up in September and, once the Triple-A season ended on Sept. 7, he went home.
Director of player development Dick Scott, though, told the right-handed hitter to keep in shape because he could be needed in a postseason pinch.
After the Mets clinched the NL East title, Reynolds was one of the players sent to the team’s facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, to play in instructional league games and stay sharp.
He was watching Game 2 of the NLDS with his teammates in a hotel lobby when Tejada broke his right leg on a late takeout slide by Chase Utley. Tejada will miss the rest of the postseason but will not require surgery, the Mets said.
“Logan Verrett looked at me and said, ‘Dude, you might be going to New York,’” Reynolds said. “That’s when it kind of hit me.”
Reynolds spent time with the Mets during spring training, batting .375 (18 for 48) with two homers and 10 RBIs in 24 games, and made a good impression on at least one teammate.
“I remember in spring training he really, really had good at-bats,” second baseman Daniel Murphy said. “And then, I mean this as the utmost compliment to him, he was better at shortstop than I thought.”
A second-round draft pick out of Arkansas in 2012, Reynolds appeared in 92 games at shortstop and 11 at second base for the 51s this season. He made 12 errors in 466 chances.
At the plate, he had 32 doubles, five triples and scored 70 runs. He was a midseason All-Star in the Pacific Coast League.
Reynolds’ contract was selected from Las Vegas. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated right-hander Tim Stauffer for assignment.
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