It is safe to say that Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds has not gotten off to the start on defense that he wanted.
After leading the American League with 31 errors last season, he made an errant throw on opening day but first baseman Chris Davis saved him with a nice stretch and catch. Last night, Reynolds made an error in the eighth that led to both Twins runs that inning being unearned.
"That was a tough play last night. A lefty hit a slicing cue off the end (of the bat) down the third-base line," Reynolds said. "The only play I had was to backhand and make a quick throw. He was probably going to be safe anyway. Was a tough play."
Reynolds won't get a chance to make any plays today, at least not at the start of the game. He fouled a ball off his left calf last night and is not in today's starting lineup, although he said he is fine and could have started.
Reynolds worked hard over the winter and in spring camp to improve his defense and he also lost weight as well, in part, to help him on that side of the ball.
"That's part of it. Part of it is just getting better and being consistent, physically and mentally," Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the tough season he had last year on defense is forgotten now and doesn't weigh on him at all.
"No, it's in the past, just move on. It's a new day. I can't change what happened," he said.
Manager Buck Showalter sounds confident that Reynolds will prove to be a better defender this year, although we haven't seen it happen in the first two games.
"It was a real focus for him," Showalter said. "I talked to him in the offseason and it was something he really wanted to do. We had some options to go in different directions but Mark worked hard all spring with (coach) DeMarlo (Hale) and Bobby Dickerson and (Mike) Bordick.
"The guys that frustrate you are the guys that don't care. Just looking for that at-bat. Mark wants to be a contributor on both sides of the ball. So, that's encouraging."
Showalter said he didn't have any issues in putting Reynolds back at third base for this season.
"It helped that he was going to be a hard trier. We now he's better than that, he's shown it in the past," Showalter said. "The other part of that is we feel Chris (Davis) is going to be an above average first baseman. If we put Chris at third and Mark at first, you don't if Chris would be below average there. We'll see if Mark can work through some of the issues he had last year and if Chris winds up playing every day at first, we think we'll be pretty good there. We know that Nick Johnson is a good defender.
"There are some parts we can move around not if, but when, we have some injuries. I'm not going to have guys sit over there (the bench) for two weeks and all the sudden we need them to play. If someone's ego gets in the way with that, then it is what it is."
For now, Showalter doesn't expect to use Reynolds at first base.
"I want him to concentrate at third base. He's worked so hard (to improve)there," he said.