Mark Reynolds didn’t roll up his pant leg while sitting at his locker, so I’ll take him at his word that he’s got a bruised left calf.
Reynolds said he’s fine, and it’s apparent that he wants to be in the lineup. He wasn’t his usual jovial self after manager Buck Showalter excluded him.
“He just told me I wasn’t playing,” Reynolds said. “I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong.”
Asked if he expects to play tomorrow, Reynolds said, “You’ve got to ask Buck. I don’t know.”
Is his leg well enough that he could pinch-hit today?
“I’m well enough to play,” he replied.
Showalter agreed that Reynolds is physically able to play, though the foul ball left him in pain last night.
“With the DH being able to move around, we’ve got some interchangeable parts,” Showalter said. “It’s more about getting everybody on the field the first three days. Nick (Johnson) played first bast last night. I think it’s important from my experience that everybody gets on the field somewhere and gets in that mix, especially before we go on the road.
“It has the potential to be a strength of ours that we have a lot of interchangeable parts. It’s something we worked hard to try to improve on last year, because our bench and the flexibility and the drop off when we had injuries wasn’t good. With Endy (Chavez) being able to play multiple positions and Wilson (Betemit) and Nick being able to play a position, we don’t really have somebody that defensively can’t go somewhere, unlike last year.”
Reynolds committed an error last night and mishandled a slow roller that was scored a hit. First baseman Chris Davis saved him from an error on opening day by lunging for a throw and keeping his foot on the bag. However, Reynolds also has made a couple of good plays and exhibited better range and mobility this spring after improving his conditioning over the winter.
“It was a real focus for him,” Showalter said. “I talked to him in the offseason. We had some options about going in some different directions, but Mark’s worked really hard all spring with DeMarlo (Hale) and Bobby Dickerson and (Mike) Bordick. The guys that frustrate you are the guys who don’t care. Mark wants to be a contributor on both sides of the ball, so that’s encouraging.”
Reynolds moved to first base late last season, but the Orioles returned him to the hot corner.
“It helped that he was going to be a hard trier on it and we know he’s better than that,” Showalter said. “He’s shown it in the past. But the other part of it was we thought Chris was going to be an above-average first baseman, and if you put Chris at third with an unknown about what kind of third baseman he’s going to be - maybe below - and Mark at first, where he struggled a little bit there, too, last year, you had a chance to be a little challenging at both positions. At least we know this way we’d rather see if Mark can work through some of the issues he had last year, and if Chris ends up playing every day at first base, we think we’ll be pretty good there. We know Nick Johnson is a good defender, and Wilson played well over there, too.
“It’s another example of some of the parts that we can move around. Not if, but when we have some injury-type thing, hopefully we’ll be able to sustain it. I’m not going to have these guys sit over there for two weeks and all of a sudden we need them to play. We’ve got to move it around. And if someone’s ego gets in the way with that, that’s the way it is.”
Showalter has no plans to start Reynolds at first base as one of the moveable parts.
“Not right now,” he said. “Want him to concentrate on third base. It’s one of those things in the back of your mind in a game, you know he can go over there, but I don’t want to put that in his mind now. He’s working so hard at third.
“He got smoked in the calf last night. You take a hammer and hit yourself in the calf. I thought it hit him in the shin, which would have been a little better. It hit him in the calf. He could have played, but that’s part of it.”
Here’s the Twins’ lineup:
Denard Span CF
Jamie Carroll SS
Joe Mauer 1B
Justin Morneau DH
Josh Willingham LF
Ryan Doumit C
Sean Burroughs 3B
Luke Hughes 2B
Ben Revere RF
Anthony Swarzak RHP