O's hoping Reynolds, like weather, warms up

O's hoping Reynolds, like weather, warms up

O's hoping Reynolds, like weather, warms up
NEW YORK -- As the warmer weather starts to set in, the Orioles hope that infielder Mark Reynolds -- who led the team in home runs and RBIs last year -- can start to get going offensively, and provide a significant boost to the lineup.

Reynolds, who did not start Wednesday's series finale against the Mets, has five homers and 21 RBIs -- compared to 13 homers at this time a year ago, although he has missed time this year with an oblique strain. Reynolds has played in 47 games, rejoining the team on May 28, and through 47 games in 2011, he had six homers and 22 RBIs.

"I think it slowed him down," hitting coach Jim Presley said of Reynolds, who fared well in his first week back, but like most of his teammates, has had no answer the past few games as the O's offense has gone missing against some of the National League's top arms.

"I'll give him a pass with the pitches he faced the last three days," manager Buck Showlater said of a group that includes Atlanta's Randall Delgado and New York's R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana. "But, I still hold out a lot of confidence that [Reynolds] will get it going and revert back to his track record."

The 28-year-old Reynolds said he can't pinpoint an exact reason why his power hasn't emerged yet, but he is quick to point out that his strikeout totals are down from previous years and his .349 on-base percentage and walks -- he leads the team with 28 -- are ways he can still contribute.

"I had an 0-2 hit the other day in Atlanta on a curveball where normally I would try to swing to hard at it and strike out," Reynolds said. "Instead, I hit a single through the hole. And I'm not worried about [the homers]. It will happen when it happens. I'm not trying to hit homers, where maybe in the past, I would have regardless of the situation.

[I'm] just kind of understanding the right time to really let it loose and the right time to take the base hit to right."

Reynolds has typically been a slow starter, and said the lack of home runs this season isn't something "he's losing sleep over." He dealt with a similar stretch in his first year in Baltimore and ended up leading the team in multiple offensive categories.

"He's been here before, and the next two weeks before the All-Star break is going to be big for him, the kind of year that he's going to have," Presley said. "He knows what he's going into contract-wise, [that] probably has an effect on you, too."

Reynolds is making $7.5 million this season and has an $11 million club option for 2013, which features a 500,000 buyout. If the Orioles don't pick up his option, Reynolds will still have accrued enough service time to be arbitration-eligible, although he could be non-tendered, which would grant him free agency.

Asked if his contract situation is something in the back of his head, Reynolds said: "Not really. Everything will take care of itself. At the end of the year, I think my numbers will be there, maybe not as high as years past because I missed some [at-bats on the DL]. I'm just trying to be consistent at the dish and have some good ABs and help us out."