Orioles hold slumping Reynolds out of lineup

Showalter says third baseman's benching isn't long term

May 11, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

Hitless in his past 14 at-bats, Mark Reynolds was held out of the starting lineup Wednesday night for the first time this season, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said there are no plans for the slumping third baseman to sit for an extended stretch.

"We've considered it," Showalter said. "Obviously, we're doing it today. You kind of look what the other options are, and right now, we're giving him a day not starting. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'm going to have a conversation with him between now and game time and get another feel for where he is. He's a 27-year-old man. This is not some guy who has been playing in the big leagues for 100 years. This is his fourth or fifth year in the major leagues, and this is his first year in this league. Some people will tell you his strikeout totals are down, comparatively speaking, but I think he's aware that where he is offensively, he's capable of better and we need better."

Reynolds went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts and stranded seven base runners in the Orioles' 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. His average down to .177, Reynolds has gone eight straight games without an RBI and has struck out 11 times in 30 at-bats this month as well as 36 times in 113 at-bats this season.

"It clicks for a day or so, and then he gets into some habits again," Showalter said. "Hitting up here is an ongoing process. Mark has had his challenges. It looks like that he's about to get going a couple of times, and he just can't maintain it."

Reynolds, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in December for relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio, hit .198 with 32 homers and 85 RBIs last season while dealing with a series of injuries.

"Last year was tougher," Reynolds said. "But I've had 110 at-bats or so; it's still early. I got a lot of ABs left just like everybody else. All it takes is a couple of 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 been working before and after games with hitting coach Jim Presley. He said he feels comfortable — he drew eight walks in a six-game span before Tuesday — but the hits just haven't come.

"I'm seeing the ball great," he said. "Everything is there. 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."

Markakis stays home sick

Reynolds, Nick Markakis and Derrek Lee entered the day as the only Orioles to start every game this season, but only Lee was in the lineup Wednesday night.

While Reynolds was kept out because of his recent slump, Markakis, who was 13-for-28 with five RBIs against Wednesday's starter, Felix Hernandez, was held out and told to stay home because he had the flu. Markakis' wife, Christina, was stricken with it Tuesday night, and Markakis got it overnight. Both their kids have also been sick.

"He is pretty sick," Showalter said. "He is starting to feel a little better. But it is a highly contagious thing, so the doctors" felt it was best to have Markakis stay home Wednesday night.

Simon uneven in Bowie outing

In his second start for Double-A Bowie, Alfredo Simon struck out eight Richmond batters but allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks over five innings.

Simon held Richmond to one run through five innings before putting the first two batters on in the sixth. He was removed from the game with his pitch count at 94. Left-hander Pedro Viola came in, and both inherited runners scored, leaving Simon's ERA at 5.40.

In two starts for the Baysox spanning 10 innings, the right-hander has given up six earned runs on 11 hits and three walks, striking out 13.

Simon was initially scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Norfolk on Monday in Lehigh Valley, Pa., but the location and date of Simon's next minor league start are in doubt because he is returning to the Dominican Republic to deal with legal issues relating to his two-month imprisonment as the chief suspect in a fatal New York's Day shooting.

About last night

The Orioles' victory Tuesday was their first win this season when they trailed after seven innings. They are now 1-17 in those contests. They were also 0-3 in extra-inning games before Tuesday.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the third straight season that the Orioles have won a game in which they overcame a deficit in the eighth or ninth inning and another in extra innings. They had only two such wins in the previous 24 seasons.

Around the horn

With Reynolds out, Robert Andino made his first start of the season at third base. … Justin Duchscherer (left hip strain) threw a bullpen session with no problems, and he'll pitch two innings in a simulated game Friday. … Brian Matusz (strained left intercostal) pitched three innings in an extended spring training game. He took a come-backer on his right wrist, but he is OK. He'll join the club Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla., and throw a bullpen session in front of pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Rick Adair. He'll make a rehabilitation appearance for Single-A Frederick on Monday. … Brad Bergesen is scheduled to start Saturday, meaning his side session was supposed to be Wednesday. However, because the bullpen was used extensively Tuesday, the club held him back in case it needed him to pitch Wednesday night in relief of Chris Tillman.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

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