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March 22, 2011

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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Posted by Dan Connolly at 10:50 AM | | Comments (4)
        

Comments

What spring slump? The guy hit .198 last year and .195 this spring, I wouldn't call a .003 difference a slump. If he hits .225 with 35 hrs / 80+ rbi I'll be happy. Anything less and it wasn't worth letting Wiggy go and giving up Hernandez.

I'd like to see a competition where all the MLB hitting coaches get together and see who can hyperbolize the most about how great their batters look in BP.

I'd take .200 and 25 homers over Wiggy/Bell last year. I think people forget just how bad they were, plus Reynolds has + defensive WAR as well, while Bell and Wiggy were absolutely horrible at defense. Nearly any major league caliber 3B would be an upgrade

I'll take a career .334 OB% from 3B that also has averaged 35HRs and 100 RBI per 162 games played. Haven't had those kinds of numbers from a 3B since...

Actually I do not remember the O's having a 3B that did all of those.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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