Rockies sign Reynolds to Minor League deal

Rockies sign Reynolds to Minor League deal

DENVER -- Mark Reynolds, who set career highs by batting .282 with a .356 on-base percentage in 118 games as the Rockies' primary first baseman last season, will return under a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League camp, the club announced Wednesday.

Reynolds, 33, knocked 14 home runs and drove in 53 runs in a year that saw him miss time with two left hand fractures -- to his hamate bone on Aug. 12, which cost him 16 games, and on Sept. 18, when he was hit by a pitch, which cost him the remainder of the season.

This offseason, the Rockies signed Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million to be the primary first baseman, which means Reynolds is most likely competing for a utility role.

Reynolds played first base for all his defensive innings last season, except one -- an emergency appearance at second. However, he has 773 games at third base, and in 2015 with the Cardinals played mostly first and third, along with a few appearances at the outfield corners and one at second.

The right-handed-hitting Reynolds also has some pinch-hitting potential. He actually hit better against righties (.297, .367 OBP, .498 slugging percentage) than lefties (.250/.331/.342) and could be an option against closers, should he make the squad. He was 3-for-5 with two walks in seven pinch-hit plate appearances last year, and is a .239 hitter with four homers in 80 career pinch-hit opportunities.

Reynolds marks the second seasoned veteran headed to camp on a Minor League contract. Outfielder Chris Denorfia also has signed with the club. Also vying for bench roles are left-handed-hitting infielder-outfielder Alexi Amarista, signed for one year with a $1.25 million guarantee and a 2018 club option; switch-hitting infielder Cristhian Adames, who hit .218 overall but .275 as a pinch-hitter; and righty-hitting infielder Pat Valaika, who hit .263 with one homer in 19 plate appearances while debuting late last season.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.