Reynolds boots leg kick; mechanical tweak scrapped
In an attempt to put the ball in play more and increase his average from a career worst .198 in 2010, new Oriole third baseman Mark Reynolds tweaked his mechanics this spring, replacing his usual toe-tap for a leg kick as he prepared for a pitch.
After half a spring with no homers and little offense to show for his troubles, he is scrapping the experiment and going back to an altered toe-tap as a timing mechanism. He felt he wasn’t generating the power he normally had when he drives the ball.
“I am comfortable and I think I can give myself more of a chance this way,” Reynolds said. “I am still trying to throw a few things out, but as far as now, I am feeling comfortable. I’m not going back to my old, ‘swing and hope I hit it’ thing. It’s more of a comfort-level thing. It’s what I have been doing throughout my career.”
Reynolds was 8-for 41 (.195 average) heading into Sunday. He went back to the toe-tap and had two hits in four at-bats against the Tampa Bay Rays and hopes it is a sign of breaking out of his spring slump.
Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley said Reynolds put on a power display in batting practice Sunday, with some slightly refined mechanics.
“He was just crushing the ball in BP,” Presley said. “He went back to his way that he feels comfortable and I think that is going to help him.”
With last year’s toe tap, Presley said Reynolds was drifting too far out front, his head was moving “a foot forward,” making him imbalanced and making a 92-mph fastball, “look like it is 96.” Now, the toe tap is less dramatic, but it is still present, allowing him to stay comfortable.
“He wanted a leg kick, and the leg kick wasn’t good for him,” Presley said. “He felt like he wasn’t getting enough load, so he went back to the other way. As long as you do a toe tap and you don’t drift forward and have a big stride, you are good.”
Reynolds is still looking for his first homer in a regular exhibition game this March.
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