Reynolds breaks strikeout record
D-backs third baseman breaks mark with 200th punchout
ST. LOUIS -- D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds set the record for most strikeouts in a season when he fanned for the 200th time this year in the second inning against the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
With a count of 1-2, Reynolds tried to check his swing at a Joel Piniero pitch, but first-base umpire Ed Rapuano ruled he went around.
Reynolds broke the mark set by the Phillies' Ryan Howard last year.
"Of course it's not the greatest of records to have," Reynolds said. "But you've got to move on and just play the game. Not much I can say about it really."
While he wanted to put the mark behind him, Reynolds will use it for some offseason motivation.
"It's obviously something I'll have to work on for next year," he said. "It's just a matter of pitch recognition and being more patient and selective. I can't tell you how many times this year I've got to 3-2 and swung at ball four. It comes with growing up and being more experienced. The more experienced you get, the more you have an idea you get about what pitchers are going to do to you and you have a better chance of getting hits and putting balls in play. Right now, it's still a learning curve and that's the way it is."
At the end of Wednesday's play, Howard had struck out 196 times, so there is still a chance the record will change hands again.
Reynolds scoffed at the notion that he would have thought about not playing down the stretch as a way to avoid the mark, and D-backs manager Bob Melvin said that thought never entered his mind.
While posting large strikeout numbers, Reynolds he has been productive as well. The third baseman, in his first full season after being called up in May 2007, has hit 28 homers and driven in 96 runs. He trails only Adam Dunn on the D-backs in those categories, but most of Dunn's came during his time with the Reds.
"His production overall was good," Melvin said. "He's a fighter. Obviously that's something he's going to work on next year in Spring Training. He shouldn't strike out that many times and he knows it. Each guy will have certain things to work on and his thing will be to cut down on strikeouts."
|Single-season strikeout leaders|
|* denotes current season|
In addition to the high strikeout total, Reynolds also leads the Majors in errors with 34. Only seven other players have led their respective leagues in both categories, the last being Zoilo Versalles in 1965 for the Twins. Versalles committed 39 errors and struck out 122 times.
Reynolds did not take much solace in the fact that he has been a big contributor to the D-backs offense.
"At the same time, think about how much more productive I would be if I could put 20 more balls in play a year and drive in 20 more runs," he said. "It's my first full season and it's the first time I've played this many games and had this many ABs and a lot of young guys struggle. I've been able to be productive and yet struggle. It's tough to hit home runs, drive in runs and not strike out. It's kind of a Catch-22. A lot of players do it, but it's something I have to work on with my approach next year and come in and be ready and don't let it get in my head."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.