NEW YORK - Orioles manager Buck Showalter indicated earlier today that Mark Reynolds will return to the lineup tomorrow against the Yankees, and also will play in the Red Sox series that begins Friday.
Tonight is another rest period for Reynolds, in part because Showalter is trying to get Nick Johnson on track.
Reynolds needs to do the same. He’s batting .143 and hasn’t hit a home run after totaling 37 last season. He hadn’t gone a full month without homering since September 2010.
“Obviously, you think about it a little bit, but I’m not up there trying to hit a home run every time,” Reynolds said while sitting at his locker this afternoon.
“I’m up there just trying to make solid contact, put a couple good ABs together. Obviously, I haven’t been doing that lately, which is why I’m not in the lineup on a daily basis. I played myself into the situation I’m in and I’ve just got to make the best of it.”
Is Reynolds not seeing the ball well? Is he uncomfortable at the plate? Does he feel great, but just not getting results?
“I can’t put a finger on it,” he said. “If I knew, I wouldn’t be struggling anymore. It’s just a combination. When I do make good contact, it’s right at people, and that’s frustrating. And then I feel like a lot of at-bats I’m kind of getting some borderline pitches that a lot of people would call balls, are called strikes. And that’s frustrating because I’m behind in the count and I know I’m going to have to expand the strike zone because he’s going to call it a strike. But then again, I can’t miss the mistakes either, which I’m missing.
“It’s just a big bunch of crap put together that’s contributing to my struggles right now. But I’ll bounce back.”
Reynolds, in a 3-for-31 slump, can’t recall getting off to a worse start.
“Obviously. I’ve only got a couple hits, a couple RBIs, no homers,” he said. “It’s not ideal. But at the same time, whenever Buck throws me in there, I’m going to keep playing, going to push through it and see what happens.”
Reynolds could return to third base tomorrow night, move across the diamond to first or serve as the DH.
“Buck’s talked about it. We’ve got a lot of options on this team,” Reynolds said. “We don’t have a DH that’s set in stone. We’ve got a lot of guys that can play a lot of different positions and Buck can play matchups more.
“I played myself to where I am. I’m not producing and therefore I’m not playing. It’s the nature of the beast. And on top of that, we’re having a really strong start and I don’t think Buck’s going to jeopardize the team in order to get one individual going.”
NOTE: The Orioles’ bullpen posted a 1.83 ERA last month, the second-lowest in franchise history for April behind the 0.99 ERA in 1966. And you know how that season ended.
It’s only the fourth time in the last 21 years that the bullpen has produced a sub-3.00 ERA in April (2002, 1993 and 1992.)
Three of the nine American League relievers who made it through April without giving up an earned run are Orioles: Luis Ayala in 11 innings, Matt Lindstrom in 9 2/3 innings and Jim Johnson in 8 2/3 innings.
Update: Executive vice president Dan Duquette said the team should know “soon” whether Tsuyoshi Wada decides to undergo surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. That’s the recommendation of doctors following an MRI and CT scan.
The injury is fairly recent, Duquette said, and not related to the elbow discomfort that caused the Orioles to shut down Wada in spring training.
MLB.com reported earlier today that Dr. Lewis Yocum diagnosed a tear.
Also, Duquette said Chris Tillman is starting tonight for Triple-A Norfolk after being scratched yesterday.
When I asked whether Tillman was skipped a day for health reasons or because the Orioles thought they might need him in New York, Duquette smiled and said, “Yes.”