Reynolds off to good start with field work

Reynolds off to good start with field work

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mark Reynolds made two impressive plays at third base in Friday's intrasquad scrimmage, but he's hardly ready to let that go to his head.

Reynolds committed 26 errors at third base and five more at first last season, but he focused on getting himself in shape this offseason, hoping to become more agile and athletic in the field.

"My thinking doesn't change. Two of many, I hope," Reynolds said Saturday. "I'm going to keep working hard. I'm not going to shut it down just because I made a couple good plays. I've got to keep working at it, and I've got to keep getting more consistent over there. ... For us to be a winning ballclub, I've got to play good defense."

Reynolds said he might have done too much weightlifting work last offseason, leading to added pounds and bulk that kept him from moving as well as he could. So while he still did some lifting this winter, he also focused on plyometrics and cardio -- "lots of running," he said.

While he said he trained just to improve his conditioning and athleticism, he admitted defense was on his mind to a certain extent.

"Obviously it was a little bit, because I've got to be lighter and quicker and things like that, but I think it was just mostly for me to be in shape," he said.

He has actually stayed at roughly the same weight -- around 220 pounds, down from the 241 he started last spring at -- since August of last year. Losing weight then didn't have a noticeable impact on his hitting, so he's not worried about it affecting his offense now, either.

"I don't think 20 pounds is going to make a huge difference. It does, mobility-wise, but I don't think it does, strength-wise," Reynolds said. "I feel less stress on my legs. I'm not as sore at the end of the day. I just feel comfortable right now with my weight and everything. I think I feel it when I'm out there on my feet all day -- I feel a lot better, so hopefully that translates into playing a good third base."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said defense has been a point of emphasis all spring for Reynolds, and he didn't think last year's Reynolds would have made some of the plays he did Friday.

"That's a good start," Showalter said. "You'd like to see a guy get a return right out of the chute for some of the things that he really put emphasis on.