Reynolds returning to the hot corner

January 21, 2012|By Peter Schmuck

Mark Reynolds made 26 errors in 114 games at third base last year and played impressively after moving to first, but manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Reynolds -- who has slimmed down over this offseason -- will be back at the hot corner this spring.

“Yeah, Buck called me in the offseason and talked about it a little bit to kind of see where I was at,’’ Reynolds said. “I wanted to see where he was at with it. I told him I preferred third, and he was cool with it. And I’ve really been working my butt off to come in in good shape and be a better defender than I was last year.”

Though he made just five errors the rest of the way at first base and the team played very well during the final two months of the season, Reynolds said he was not tempted to make the permanent switch to first.

“No, I came up as a shortstop and always saw myself as an infielder -- a third baseman -- and that’s always where I wanted to be,’’ he said. “So, I’m sure I’m going to get a long look in spring, and if I’m up to snuff for Buck and Dan, they’ll feel confident to have me out there Opening Day.”

Reynolds is ready and willing, but he also wanted to be more agile, so he has dropped 22 pounds over the past 3½ months. Nobody told him he was overweight, and it never became an issue last year. He just felt he needed to get in better shape.

“There was no issue,’’ he said. “I think it was more of, I saw myself, felt it last year not being able to move the way I wanted to move coming in on slow rollers and left and right. I kind of took it upon myself to slim down and be healthier.”

Offensively, Reynolds managed to avoid 200 strikeouts and hit for great power, but he has some areas he wants to improve on that front, too.

“I think trying not to hit .180 going into May would be a big help,’’ he said. “I think the adjustment period is over. I know what to expect. I’ve seen these guys a lot, so hopefully I can come in and get off to a better start than last year.”

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