Getting to know Mark Reynolds

I’ve got a longer piece on new Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds that will be up on Orioles.com later tonight, but I wanted to pass along a few interesting quotes. Some of these made it in my story, but when you’re writing a longer feature there’s always things you leave out as well. Enjoy.

REYNOLDS
[on people doubting his defense]
I know what I can do. And I know when I got traded [manager Buck Showalter] and [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] talked to me and said, ‘Hey we are looking forward to having you. We think you’ve improved light years since you first came up at third base.’ And I think I have too. People can knock me or say what they want to say about me. It doesn’t bother me, I know what I can do.

[on having to essentially learn third base at 23 in the Majors]
“I struggled with it for a while. I think once I realized that I had to work at it to stay in the big leagues to get better defensively I just took it upon myself to keep grinding it out out there. I was lucky to have managers who kept throwing me out there. The more experience I got, the better I got. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come in here and be what they expect.”

[on dealing with defensive struggles]
“There was many games where I made a costly error or threw a ball away…night in, night out you have to answer those questions, from reporters and other media, fans are on you. You are under that microscope at the big league level and I think it’s made me a better player to go through all that.”

[on leaving Arizona]
“It was tough. I signed an extension there and I thought I was going to be there at least three more years. They wanted to go in another direction. So that’s fine. I’m happy to be here with the Orioles and turn this thing around. [It's] a fresh start. New faces, new coaches, new [spring] ballpark, new league. So, I think its going to be good. A good switch.”

[on his .198 batting average]
 “It’s embarrassing. It’s huge. I know I’m a way better hitter than that. I know I was stupid and played through some injuries that I shouldn’t have. I think I had like five hits in September or something stupid like that. But I’m stubborn and I like to play and I like to be in the lineup every day. Obviously looking back on it now I wish I had sat out a little more than I did. But it was a good learning experience.”
 
[on people wondering if 2010 was a sign of his decline]
“I don’t even know how to respond to that. I’m 27 years old. I don’t think I’m in decline, I just had an injury plagued bad year. I still hit 30 something home runs and drove in 80 something runs. There’s other ways to be productive I think besides your batting average. I think scoring runs, driving in runs, taking your walks.

I just think it’s stupid for people to say I’m in decline. I’m 27. If I was 37, maybe. But I still got a lot of good years left in me.”

[on his comfort level at third base]
I realize that’s where I’m supposed to be now. My whole career in the minors I was always a utility guy…I have that mentality now at third base where its my job and I know people are trying to take it from me and I got to take a step ahead.

[on his strikeouts]
You have to take the good with the bad. It’s obviously something I want to cut down on and improve on. I think working with Brady [Anderson] a lot this offseason kind of changed my timing and my bat path a little bit. I think its helped and hopefully I can be a more consistent hitter.

[on struggling as a young player]
“It’s mental. It is. It’s tough. You just got to remember, you are in the big leagues for a reason. You are one of the best baseball players in the world. You are here to do a job. The wouldn’t keep throwing out there if they didn’t think so.”

[on if his best years are ahead]
“I think that ’09 was where I was just starting to realize my potential. Last year I still put up pretty decent numbers. I look at that as I still hit some home runs and drove in that many runs and I could barely swing a bat.”

[on his personality]
“I’m more just kind of laid back. [I like to] do my work get it done, go out and play. I’m not going to be the voice in the clubhouse. I’m just kind of relaxed, kind of quiet.”

[on not confusing his quietness with lack of emotion]
“I definitely care. My comments will reflect that I care after the games. As far as being the guy on Twitter or being the guy with the Facebook page or being the guy that always wants to be on SportsCenter, I could care less. I just want to do my job and let the spotlight be on somebody else.”

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