Reynolds trying to be the guy “they traded for”

Justin Duchscherer threw a side session today in Sarasota and will pitch a two-inning simulated game on Friday. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list May 30.

Third baseman Mark Reynolds has bigger worries than the virus that’s sweeping through the clubhouse. He’s not in the lineup, and he managed to smile when asked if it’s just a scheduled day off.

“I don’t think it was an off day. I think it’s because I’m struggling,” he said.

“I think they’re just giving me a day. And it probably doesn’t hurt that we’re facing Felix (Hernandez) tonight. I’m going to take the day and regroup and get back out there tomorrow.”

How exactly does sitting on the bench provide a possible solution to a 9-for-71 slump?

“You kind of don’t have to dwell on it or worry about playing,” he said. “Just kind of relax and clear your head. That’s the biggest thing. I’ve been working hard with (hitting coach Jim Presley), trying to figure some things out. I think I’m on the right track. I feel good at the plate, I’m just not getting very many balls to fall in, so that’s the biggest part of the frustration level. But like I said, it’ll be nice to relax today, and if (manager Buck Showalter) needs me late, I’ll be there.”

Reynolds won’t call this stretch the worst of his career. He doesn’t have to think back very far to find it.

“Oh no. Last year was tougher,” he said. “It was tough, but I’ve had 110 at-bats or so. It’s still early. I’ve got a lot of ABs left, just like everybody else. We’ve got a couple people struggling and they’ve got a lot of ABs left. All it takes is a couple games to get you right back in there and get your confidence up and get you right back to where you need to be.”

Reynolds has drawn 16 walks, one fewer than team-leader Derrek Lee.

“I’m seeing the ball great. I feel comfortable at the plate. Everything is there,” he said, “It’s just when I hit it, I hit it right at people. I don’t know what it is. But I guess it’s got to turn around at some point, so hopefully I can start finding some holes and get some confidence back and be the guy that they traded for.”

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