Lind reaches 200-homer plateau, thanks to key blast in win

NEW YORK - On the surface, it may not seem like that big of a deal, given the rate the home runs fly out of ballparks these days. But let’s pause for a moment to give Adam Lind some credit, because even in these inflated times, 200 career homers is nothing to gloss over.

Lind’s opposite-field, two-run shot during the Nationals’ 4-3, 10-inning win over the Mets on Saturday night allowed him to reach that milestone. And the 34-year-old slugger, while not one to show off, did admit this was an important round number to him.

Adam-Lind-smile-white-opening-day-sidebar.jpg“I know it was a goal I had at the beginning of the year that I would like to try to accomplish,” said Lind, who entered the season with 186. “A lot of people have a hand in that, from when I’m a kid to this point in my life.”

How significant is the 200-homer plateau? Well, Lind is one of only 39 active players to have done it. He’s one of 340 in major league history to get there.

Perhaps more impressive is that Lind did it this season, given the fact he was unemployed until Feb. 13 and signed with the Nationals knowing he’d be backing up Ryan Zimmerman at first base all season.

Lind has received only 290 plate appearances, and barring a surge of more during the season’s final week, he’ll finish with his lowest total since 2006, when he stepped to the plate only 65 times during a brief debut with the Blue Jays.

Lind has made the most of his limited playing time, though. His 4.8 percent home run rate and .896 OPS are the second-highest of his career. His 15.9 percent strikeout rate, meanwhile, is the second-lowest of his career.

“He’s come up big so many times this year, whether it’s pinch-hit or filling in for Zim,” right-hander Stephen Strasburg said. “I think it’s allowed for a lot of flexibility, or allowed Zim when he needs a day to have a day, because he comes right in there and he doesn’t miss a beat.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing with him this year, because he’s a great guy in the clubhouse and keeps it loose, but he goes out there and does his job.”

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