Orioles manager Buck Showalter detests lineup questions. He can’t understand the obsession with who’s batting where and when. It’s become something of a joke. He doesn’t implode, but he shakes his head in disapproval.
Well, here’s another one:
What went into the decision to move Mark Reynolds to first base today?
“He’s played first base, he’s been taking balls there. I know you’ve all been watching,” Showalter said.
“That’s the type of club we have, hopefully. Move people around. Nick (Markakis) needs a day to DH, this guy needs to do that. It’s not something new. We’re going to use the versatility of our team. And I don’t want Mark to DH too much.”
Reynolds played 44 games at first last season after making 114 appearances at third and committing 26 of his 31 errors. He’s only played third and served as the DH this season.
Reynolds is hitting .156 with no home runs in 2012, but he’s 4-for-9 with a double lifetime against Oakland starter Bartolo Colon - another reason he’s in the lineup today.
“We’ll see where it takes us,” Showalter said.
Is Showalter hesitant to play Reynolds at third?
“No,” he replied. “We’ve had some good things at third base with him and Wilson (Betemit) and Ryan (Flaherty), and some things with all three of them that haven’t been as good as they’re capable. It’s the nature of the game. Just want to keep the versatility in play, just like last night. And I’ll probably do that tomorrow. (Endy) Chavez should be close to 100 percent. It was borderline today.”
Chavez is dealing with a sore intercostal muscle. But back to Reynolds ...
“Mark played first last year and he’s playing it again today,” Showalter said. “And in the future, it won’t be such a, I guess, topic. Maybe not. I don’t know. We don’t, in the clubhouse.”
Asked if he foresees putting Reynolds at third base “anytime soon,” Showalter again shook his head and replied, “It might be tomorrow. We’re playing Oakland right now. We’ll take a look at those (Yankees) guys and most importantly, look at our players and their needs and what the matchup looks like. Take each day.
“We’ll always take a look at the needs of our players, physically and mentally, and go from there. We try to mesh it every day. We’ve got a lot more options than we had last year. We also have a lot more options to keep our people healthy and rested, as opposed to many last year when we probably should have backed off a couple guys, but we really weren’t in position.
“We have a lot of moving parts, and I think the players kind of like it. They like the ability to move around. It certainly keeps everybody involved, and I think that’s big for us, the kind of club we have to be. We have a lot of people who can play different places and give us presentations to different teams. That’s one of the reasons we moved guys around this spring, to start that.
“I almost played (Ronny) Paulino at first base today.”
He was joking, but it might happen later.
Update: If Reynolds wants to return to third base, he’s going about it the wrong way.
Reynolds made a couple of nice plays in the early innings, and he just made a sensational one in the fourth, diving along the line to glove a scorching grounder from Kila Ka’aihue and throwing from his knees to start a 3-6-3 double play.
The crowd erupted. It will be replayed many times on SportsCenter.