Reynolds

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds watches his three-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. Reynolds was born just across the Buchanan County line in Pike County, Ky.

CINCINNATI — The Commonwealth of Virginia, from Tazewell’s Billy Wagner to the recent surge of talent out of the Tidewater area, is well represented in the major leagues.

The newest Virginian to reach the big leagues hails from the beach, but he also has ties to this area.

Arizona Diamondbacks’ rookie Mark Reynolds was born just across the state line from Grundy in Pike County, Ky., and, though his family moved to Virginia Beach when he was young, his family roots stretch well into Buchanan County.

Reynolds, ranked seventh this season among all Diamondbacks prospects by Baseball America, led the organization in home runs last year with 31, and started off with a bang after getting a call from the parent club on May 16.

He made his major league debut in Denver against the Rockies, going 2-for-3 while filling in for injured third baseman Chad Tracy. Three days later, in Pittsburgh, he had three hits and belted his first big league homer.

“It was unbelievable,” Reynolds said July 6, when the Diamondbacks were in Cincinnati. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s something I’ll never forget, getting the call up here, going to Colorado, getting to suit up for the first time.”

The July 6-8 series in Cincinnati marked the first time most of Reynolds’ family got to see him in the big leagues in person. His grandfather, Marcum Keen, was principal at Big Rock Elementary School and was a longtime assistant principal at Grundy Senior High School.

Reynolds has several other relatives who work in the Buchanan County school system, including his uncle, Phillip Keen, who works in the central office. He was five when his parents moved to Virginia Beach. The move proved to be a good one for his development as a baseball player.

A 16th round draft pick by Arizona in 2004, Reynolds was a teammate of Ryan Zimmerman at Virginia.

A graduate of First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, he played against several future major leaguers, and played with them on summer traveling squads.

“I played with Dave (Wright), (Michael) Cuddyer with the Twins, both (B.J. and Justin) Uptons, (Ryan) Zimmerman,” Reynolds said. “We all played together, we were all great friends growing up. We played against each other (in high school) and we all played on the same traveling teams together.

“We had a lot of heated battles, but we’re all friends now. We work out together in the off-season. (The Tidewater area is) becoming a hot-bed now. There’s a lot of talent out there.”

Reynolds, who visits family in the area frequently, could soon join Wright and some of his other Virginia friends as an All-Star. He entered the All-Star break batting .272 and slugging .517, with six homers and 21 extra base hits in 147 big-league at-bats.

His versatility should keep him in the big leagues until a regular job opens up. He played shortstop in the minors and has played third and both corner outfield spots in the majors.

“I haven’t heard anything, I’m just taking it day by day,” Reynolds said. “Chad Tracy is healthy now and we’ve been splitting time at third.

“As long as I can help the team win I think it helps my case out. Being up here, my goal now is to stay up here and contribute.”