Jake Reed makes MLB debut for L.A. Dodgers as wife Janie prepares for Olympics

Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jake Reed’s path to the major leagues was a long, bumpy road, much like his walk with Christ.

The 28-year-old was called up to the majors and made his MLB debut Tuesday night, recording a strikeout and giving up a run after an error by shortstop Gavin Lux. Los Angeles went on to lose to the Miami Marlins, 2-1 in extra innings.

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Released by the Los Angeles Angels on June 2, Reed signed with the Dodgers two days later. He impressed with the team’s Triple-A affiliate, posting a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings.

“He’s a guy that gets righties out,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told ESPN. “Really cool story. I’m really excited for him. And our guys in the front office sought him out, found him, and he’s going to help us win ballgames.”

Reed’s arrival in the big leagues is not the only major athletic event going on in his own family, though. His wife, Janie, is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics as a member of the top-ranked U.S. softball team. She has already won gold medals at the 2016 and 2018 World Championships, and was featured in the Summer 2021 “Olympic Edition” of Sports Spectrum Magazine.

Janie was unable to attend Tuesday’s game because the USA Softball team is already in Japan.

The couple met while at the University of Oregon, after which Jake was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins and Janie pursued professional softball. Their relationship is rooted in a shared faith, but it wasn’t always that way.

“I didn’t grow up with it. I really had no interest, had no idea about anything about the Gospel, about Jesus, about the cross, about anything,” Jake said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2018.

They would occasionally go to church together and Janie would attempt to have faith-based conversations, usually without success. She continued to pray persistently, however, and helped introduce him to a book called “A Better Way to Think: How Positive Thoughts Can Change Your Life.”

Jake read the book while in Double-A with the Chattanooga Lookouts, and started to turn to the Bible to help cope with the pain and frustration he was feeling. He originally started in the Old Testament but quickly got bogged down. It was when he turned to the Book of Matthew that things started to click.

“I just remember that the things I was reading in this book and the things I was reading in the Bible were just kind of aligning in a weird, creepy way,” he recalled on the podcast.

Eventually, Reed decided he needed to make dramatic changes to the way he lived.

“I finally had that feeling of ‘I can’t do this,'” he said. “I can’t stop this lifestyle that I’ve been living my whole life by myself. I need help. I need help stopping these things.”

That’s when he began to develop a genuine relationship with Christ for the first time. He found the things he was chasing after were different.

The impact on his relationship with Janie was immediate as well.

“My heart and my desires started to change, which was the thing that really locked me into my faith,” Reed said. “When those things started to change, the desires I used to have started to go away. That’s when [our] relationship started to improve.”

Without a group of believers to fall back on, he earnestly sought out spiritual mentors to help guide him in his faith journey.

“I had nobody at home, so I prayed and I prayed and I prayed for God to put people in my life, and He was so faithful in that, more than possibly anything I’ve ever prayed for,” Reed said.

Reed and the Dodgers are back in action Wednesday night as they take on the Marlins on ESPN’s “Wednesday Night Baseball” at 7:10 p.m. ET.

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