Reynolds will start getting work at first base
Orioles reverse plan to play Reynolds exclusively at third
TORONTO -- Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds will start to get some work back at first base, a somewhat surprising move given that manager Buck Showalter has said previously he wanted Reynolds -- who committed 31 errors last season -- to focus exclusively on third.
Reynolds led the league in errors in 2011 and made a serious effort -- after Showalter announced he would be the team's starting third baseman heading into the spring -- to improve his defense, shedding 20 pounds to aid his mobility in the field.
While the 28-year-old Reynolds showed some improvement this spring and was constantly out for early work, it hasn't shown up in the season's first week. Reynolds has made two errors in his first 15 chances at third base, and served as the team's designated hitter on Friday.
"We've got a little versatility and we're going to continue to take advantage of it," Showalter said of his lineup. "I just want everybody to feel like they are a part of it, 'cause they are and I want everybody to know we are going to ask them to make contributions. You know, we stay away from the mule lips [pouting] sometimes when a guy's not playing, because it's what's best for the Orioles. That's what it's all about.
"I had a good conversation with Mark the other day, he was talking about the most fun he ever had in baseball was the year he went to the playoffs in Arizona. And how much he wants to be a part of that again, he'll do whatever it takes. He's going to do some ground balls and he's going to get some work in at first base to make sure he's ready to do anything."
Reynolds made 26 errors in 114 games at third base last season, compared with five in 44 games at first. Still, Showalter felt that the team defense was strongest with Chris Davis at first base and Reynolds at third, a decision reached this winter and one that had looked pretty set.
"Mark's a guy that's capable of playing a lot of different places," Showalter said. "I want to take advantage of his versatility. He can do a lot of things, he can play outfield. I feel like he can do a lot of things."
Roberts travels with Orioles to Toronto
BALTIMORE -- Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts traveled with the team to Toronto for the start of a 10-game road trip as the 34-year-old continues to progress from a concussion and reacclimate to a Major League lifestyle.
Roberts was in noticeably good spirits on Friday, speaking with the media at length and joking around in the dugout before partaking in pregame batting practice. He also did some speed work and lifting and will continue to watch more of the Orioles' games from the dugout, where manager Buck Showalter said he has become "like another coach."
Asked if he was excited to be in Toronto, Roberts said, "Yeah, of course. Coming off the last year where I had to sit down there and be isolated and not really be part of the team ... this is what I'm supposed to be doing still -- playing baseball and traveling and being part of the team."
The plan right now is for Roberts to go with the team from Toronto to Chicago, but it's still undecided if he will finish the trip in Anaheim. With a day game on Sunday, the team is only on the West Coast for two full days, and Roberts said it might not be worth it in terms of him getting his work in.
"I talked to Buck a little bit about it, but we really haven't made a commitment to whether I should just go back to Baltimore and get my work in there or stay on the trip," Roberts said. "It won't necessarily be because something's wrong or not wrong. It will just be a decision on what's the best way to get my work in."
Roberts also took some early batting practice, and he said he will try to get most of his work done early so he doesn't get in the way of the 25 Orioles getting ready for the game. He remains in daily contact with his doctors and admitted Friday he got a little too excited in watching the Orioles' Opening Day weekend, staying in the dugout for seven consecutive innings on Saturday.
"That was probably a little ambitious," Roberts said with a grin. "So I probably didn't go out much on Sunday [to watch]. And then I started back again on Monday."
Lindstrom getting back to feeling healthy
TORONTO -- Orioles reliever Matt Lindstrom has been dealing with back spasms, an issue that started with a bad bed in Spring Training and has crept up into the regular season. But the right-hander reported feeling much better on Friday.
"I feel way better than I did the last couple days," said Lindstrom, who manager Buck Showalter said was unavailable Wednesday because of his back.
"It was tight going in, I didn't go in there and tell him, 'Hey skip my back's tight, I can't pitch,'" Lindstrom said. "I think [Showalter] didn't want to get it worse by not going that night in the cold and stuff. But it's feeling a lot better than it did even on Wednesday. It's usually something I have to go through during every season, but I'm confident it's behind me."
Lindstrom dealt with back spasms in Spring Training and is still receiving treatment in the area.
"It had been bothering me because, I think, mostly the different beds I had been sleeping in in Spring Training and stuff like that," he said. "But I ordered a new bed for my place in Baltimore, got there, slept on it Wednesday night and that's the type of bed I need. So, hopefully it won't be an issue this summer."
Flaherty to make first start this weekend
TORONTO -- Orioles rookie Ryan Flaherty will get his first Major League start on either Saturday or Sunday, with manager Buck Showalter wanting the Rule 5 pick to get his feet under him a little bit first.
"It's kind of like [pitcher Wei-Yin] Chen, how we waited with him," Showalter said. "Just to let him step back and absorb everything. Lot of new things being thrown at him that he's never had before. So I think my plan all along was to try to start him on the first road trip, maybe get his feet wet a little bit at home if we could."
Flaherty entered last Saturday's game as a defensive replacement at third base but did not get an at-bat. Flaherty said Friday he's been staying sharp by getting in a lot of extra early work and the 25-year-old has put in what Showalter called "the equivalent of two or three games" during batting practice.
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.