Reynolds to get first base work
Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds will start to get some work back at first base, a somewhat surprising move given that manager Buck Showalter has said previously he wanted Reynolds –who committed 31 errors last season – to focus exclusively on third.
Reynolds lead the league in errors committed in 2011 and made a cognizant effort –after Showalter announced he would be the team’s starting third baseman heading into the spring –to improve his defense, shedding 20 pounds to help aid his mobility in the field. While the 28-year-old Reynolds showed some improvement this spring and was constantly out for early work, it hasn’t shown up in the season’s first week. Reynolds has made two errors in his first 15 chances at third base, and served as the team’s designated hitter on Friday.
“We’ve got a little versatility and we’re going to continue to take advantage of it,” Showalter said of his lineup. “I just want everybody to feel like they are a part of it, ‘cause they are and I want everybody to know we are going to ask them to make contributions. You know, we stay away from the mule lips sometimes when a guy’s not playing, because it’s what’s best for the Orioles. That’s what it’s all about.
I had a good conversation with Mark the other day, he was talking about the most fun he ever had in baseball was the year he went to the playoffs in Arizona. And how much he wants to be a part of that again, he’ll do whatever it takes. He’s going to do some ground balls and he’s going to get some work in at first base to make sure he’s ready to do anything.”
Reynolds made 26 errors in 114 games at third base last season, compared with five in 44 games at first. Still, Showalter felt that the team defense was strongest with Chris Davis at first base and Reynolds at third, an decision reach this winter and one that –until now – has looked pretty set.
“Mark’s a guy that’s capable of playing a lot of different places,” Showalter said. “I want to take advantage of his versatility. He can do a lot of things, he can play outfield. I feel like he can do a lot of things.”