Knowing that there was a possibility that Derrek Lee would be traded, Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds took it upon himself to order a first baseman's mitt late last month.
He didn't anticipating having to use it this much, this soon.
With Chris Davis unavailable because of right shoulder soreness, Reynolds started his third straight game at first base in the Orioles' 7-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, and it went much like the previous two. To go along with his two home runs, including just the second one to land in the second deck in left field in Camden Yards' history, Reynolds made all the plays that were required, though he certainly wasn't as tested as much as he was Saturday night.
In that game, Reynolds made a splendid diving stop to start a seventh-inning double play, and also scooped two low throws out of the dirt to get outs at first base.
"I don't know if it opened our eyes or kept them open," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "The guy has played a good number of games at first base in the big leagues and it was something that we talked about the 'what ifs' in the offseason when we traded for Mark. I just look at it as a luxury to have two guys who can play first and two guys who can play third in Chris and Mark."
Reynolds has gone errorless in six games at first base this season, compared to an American League-leading 21 miscues in 101 games at third. During his career, Reynolds has played 40 games (29 starts) at first compared to 633 games (620 starts) at third.
"It's the same footwork as third, just kind of backwards turning double plays. So far so good over there, I guess," Reynolds said. "I don't know if I like [first] better, but it's good to just do whatever I can to help the team win. If they want me to play first, I'll be at first. If they want me at third, I'll be there, and if they want me to be in the outfield, I'll go to the outfield. Maybe not catcher. I don't like catcher so much."
Reynolds' defensive struggles at third, and the belief by some that Davis is better at third than first, has heightened discussion on whether the Orioles would be better off moving Reynolds across the diamond next season. Reynolds said that he's "open to the idea if that's what's best for the team. I always keep my options open."
Asked if the club would consider flip-flopping Davis and Reynolds, Showalter said, "We'll see, right now we're trying to get [Davis] back on the field and it's just nice to have those options."
Hardy, Davis could return Monday
Davis and shortstop J.J. Hardy (sore left ankle) missed a third consecutive game, but both could return to the lineup Monday.
"[We] feel like it's pretty imminent that they're back on the field shortly," Showalter said.
A CT scan taken on Hardy's left shin didn't reveal anything that has the shortstop or the club overly concerned. Hardy didn't want to elaborate on what could be causing the soreness, saying that it's "lots of stuff that it could have been."
"It was good news, definitely," said Hardy, who hasn't played since coming out of last Thursday's game in Kansas City. "Nothing wrong with the bone structure or anything with the bone. … I'm hoping that [Monday] when I start to run around that I feel nothing. I think three days of not really running around and testing it, and taking medicine, I feel like hopefully running around tomorrow there will be no pain and I'll play the rest of the way."
Davis had a magnetic resonance imaging Saturday, and he said that it showed the normal wear-and-tear, but nothing that he couldn't play through.
"Basically, just the same thing that every baseball player has, a little bit of damage to the rotator cuff and labrum," Davis said. "That's just some wear-and-tear from over the years of throwing. Nothing serious. … Hopefully, I'll be in there [Monday]."
Around the horn
Infielder Cesar Izturis was removed from the game in the fifth inning after straining his left groin. Showalter said that Izturis will be reevaluated before Tuesday's game, but another trip to the disabled list appears to be a possibility. … Left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes, who the Orioles claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays last Tuesday, threw a bullpen session before the game in preparation for the potential start Tuesday. Reyes would be taking injured Zach Britton's spot in the rotation. … The Orioles are at least considering a reunion with veteran Kevin Millwood, who was released by the Boston Red Sox. … Showalter said that he got positive reports on Brian Matusz's outing for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday. Matusz held Rochester to one run over seven innings while striking out six. … Former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson presented catcher Matt Wieters with the Heart and Hustle Award before Sunday's game. … Third baseman Josh Bell changed numbers from 50 to 25, the number Lee wore for much of the year. … Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was in Minnesota over the weekend to take part in the 20th anniversary of the Twins' 1991 World Championship team.