The Orioles arranged a conference call with new third baseman Mark Reynolds, who spoke for about seven minutes before we let him enjoy the rest of his night.
Reynolds said he was surprised to learn that the Diamondbacks traded him this morning.
“Obviously, I didn’t want to leave,” he said. “I have my house here, my friends, family. I have a pretty good setup with spring training 10 minutes down the road. But I’m looking forward to it, going back east. I’m from Virginia Beach, so it’s a couple hours from my house.
“It’s going to be a good experience for me. I’m excited to go there and meet the other guys, the coaches, the front office. It’s going to be an adventure and I’m looking forward to it.”
Reynolds’ average sunk to .198 last season, and he eclipsed 200 strikeouts for the third straight year.
“It was borderline embarrassing, as far as my average goes,” he said. “I know I’m a much better hitter than that. I think I pushed myself a little too hard. I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to injuries and things like that. I hate missing games, I hate missing at-bats. I think I’ve learned a lot in that area as far as how to listen to my body and know when I need to maybe take some time off. Looking back, I wish I had done that, but it’s past and you move forward, and I think I’ll have a lot better chance for success knowing what I went through this past year.”
How does Reynolds describe his style of play?
Just the way you would like.
“No matter what, I’m going to try and play every day, play every game,” he said. “I’m definitely going to leave the field dirty. I’m not afraid to dive into the stands, I’m not afraid to take on a catcher at home plate. I definitely play the game 100 percent all nine innings, and you’ll never see me loafing out there. If I’m loafing, it must mean that I’m hurt.
“I’m a hard-nosed player and I’ll go out there every day with all I’ve got.”
Reynolds will need a crash course in learning this team.
“I actually had the roster and I don’t know anyone personally,” he said. “I’ve maybe said ‘hi’ in passing. I’m going to go there and get acclimated with all the guys. It’s just like a fresh start. Hopefully, I can put this past year behind me, be smarter with taking care of my body and managing things like that. I’m looking forward to getting to see the guys and getting to know everybody.”
Asked to expand on his injuries, Reynolds said, “In the spring, I hurt my quad the last day of spring training. I didn’t think too much of it and it really hampered me running the bases and stealing bags. That is kind of part of my game. That bothered me all the way prior to the All-Star Game, and then when I started to get 100 percent healthy, I got hit in the head with a 96 mile-an-hour fastball, and that kind of set me back. Then in September, I hurt my hand somehow. It was tough to feel the bat. I tried to put a protect on it and play through it. I probably shouldn’t have done that.
“It was all just nagging stuff. I feel 100 percent now and I’m ready to go.”
Reynolds also will need to learn more about Camden Yards.
“As far as the park goes, I don’t know much about it,” he said. “I heard it’s pretty hitter-friendly. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment moving to the A.L. with the pitching and getting to know everybody. I’m going to rely on the coaches and the players on the team to help me out and give me scouting reports and let me know what he’s got.
“I don’t expect it to be an adjustment that is going to take me a while, hopefully, but it’s definitely going to be something that I’m going to have to get used to.”
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and manager Buck Showalter noted the improvement in Reynolds’ defense at third base. Reynolds said it’s a product of experience and his work with Matt Williams.
“In 2007, my first year in the big leagues, I played like 30 games in Double-A that year and that was my first year ever playing third base. And then I got the call up and got thrown in the fire,” he said. “I kind of learned on the job and it definitely showed early on. But I took a lot of time in spring training working with Matt Williams. He really helped out a lot over there, my footwork and things like that, so I think I’m only getting better as time goes on.”