While Robinson Cano adjusts to a new team, there is one teammate who needs no introduction. At the locker closest to Cano's in the Mariners Spring Training clubhouse sits his cousin, Burt Reynolds, a 25-year-old infielder who played independent league ball the past three years.
Reynolds was signed as a Minor League free agent by Seattle at the same time his cousin inked his $240 million contract in December, a package deal that came with a Spring Training invite for Reynolds.
Reynolds lived with Cano for three years in New Jersey when Cano attended school in the United States for grades seven through nine before moving back to the Dominican Republic. The two reconnected when Cano came back to the U.S. after being signed by the Yankees.
Reynolds was drafted by the Nationals in 2006 and spent three years in the Rays' organization (2008-10), but has never been above Class A.
"This is the first time we've been on the same team," said Reynolds, who was born in the Dominican but grew up in New Jersey. "It's great. Our dream together is to be able to play not against each other in the big leagues, but to play together. Now it's my part to just work hard and see if I can get up there with him." Reynolds has played third base as well as the outfield in his career. He hit .247 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in 71 games for the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League last year.
As for his famous cousin?
"He's going to play his game," Reynolds said. "Obviously he's a great player and has his plan, which is to help the team as much as he can, help the younger guys. He wants to help them win a championship. I try to pick up as much as I can from him. He's a smart guy and knows what he wants. He understands the game and is a very smart player."
The Mariners have previously had family connections whose time with Seattle overlapped. In the organization for a time with Ken Griffey and his son who shared his namesake was another son, Craig, who was on Seattle's 40-man roster at one point and played seven seasons in the Mariners' farm system. Jay Buhner's brother, Shawn, was a Minor League outfielder for the Mariners for six years but was never in Major League camp.
February 27, 2014/Mariners News