BALTIMORE -- Orioles infielder Mark Reynolds frequently brought Camden Yards to its feet in 2011, as the slugger became well known for hitting towering homers, including one that landed in the upper deck in left field -- just the second time a homer had been hit there in the ballpark's 19-year history.
The frequent cheers haven't stopped this winter -- as Reynolds hears clapping and celebrating every morning in his offseason Arizona home -- although the cause for ruckus is entirely different, as his 2-year-old son, Jacob, embarks on a daily mission to find the "Elf on the Shelf."
"It's the excitement of my offseason," Reynolds said of the Christmas tradition, which involves a scout elf helping Santa determine who to put on the naughty and nice lists. "We've been doing it for a couple days. The kids aren't allowed to touch him, and supposedly every night, the elf flies back to the North Pole to report on what he's seen. My kid goes crazy every morning trying to find him."
Reynolds and his wife, Kathleen, will celebrate Christmas this year with a new addition to the family, as the pair welcomed another son, Reid, who will be just over seven weeks old on Sunday. The 28-year-old Reynolds, who has fond Christmas memories -- when he and his younger brother would immediately test out their new street-hockey gear and other sporting goods -- said being a father makes him appreciate the season and all the little things that lead up to it.
"Before that, it was just a holiday where you would get together with your family, but now, it's more about watching your son or your daughter enjoy the things that you are able to provide for them," Reynolds said. "It's cool to see your kid get up every morning and say, 'Where's the elf?'"
While Reynolds doesn't have a magical helper watching his daily routine, he has been working out for about a month, running a four-mile mountainous trail around his house and hitting the weight room.
"I've been in touch with Brady [Anderson] here and there, and keep trying to keep my weight where it was toward the middle of the year, instead of bulking up so much," said Reynolds, who estimates he was in the 235-pound range when he reported to camp last season.
He has a friendly wager with manager Buck Showalter about reporting to Spring Training under 220, with the prize the use of Showalter's membership at the prestigious Dallas National Golf Club. And to that end, Reynolds said he has been mixing in way more cardio than in winters past.
"I wasn't out of shape and fat last year, but I think I fell into weightlifting with Brady, and I was so into it and about putting up the heaviest weight I could. [I was] kind of going crazy with it," Reynolds said. "I kind of lost sight of my goal to be a baseball player. I'm not a professional weightlifter, so I'm just trying to stay strong and agile and mobile."
More mobility on the field would certainly be welcomed, particularly if it translates into better defense. Reynolds' 31 errors led the American League last season, and it tied him for third most in a single season in Orioles history. Of the 31 errors, 26 were at third base, making it hard to argue with Reynolds when he calls his performance in 114 games at the hot corner subpar.
"I wouldn't put me over there after what I did last year," said Reynolds, who will start taking ground balls in January and is motivated to prove that his fielding performance in 2011 was an anomaly.
He committed five errors in 44 games at first base, moving over there after Derrek Lee was traded to Pittsburgh and Chris Davis hit the disabled list. Right now, Reynolds looks penciled in to play first, with Davis and Matt Antonelli competing for the third-base job. While his role is far from set in stone as the team continues to make offseason additions, Reynolds hopes to be prove that he's a better fielder than what he showed in his first year in Baltimore.
"Hopefully, they can look at my track record and give me a shot over there [at third]," said Reynolds, who had 18 errors in 142 games as Arizona's third baseman in 2010. "I know I'm better than that. But whatever Buck and [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette] want me to do, I'll do."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.