Before he fell into an extended slump that got him released by the Indians, Mark Reynolds started this season hitting .301/.368/.651. Last year, when his Orioles were making a push toward the postseason, he hit .275/.408/.575 in the month of August and hit nine home runs in September.
It’s no coincidence that the Yankees — in need of massive outburst of productivity — are playing Reynolds against a right-handed starter tonight.
“It is a little awkward because Lyle (Overbay)’s meant a lot to our club,” manager Joe Girardi said. “But as I said, we’ve seen Mark get really hot, and he’s swinging the bat really well now. Let’s just see what happens.”
Girardi is notoriously slow to make a change like this. He’s a loyal manager, with a tendency to trust the guys who have been in the room the longest and have been around the game the most. But Overbay is slumping, and Reynolds just might be on the verge of a massive streak of production. He had a home run on Tuesday and three hits on Wednesday.
“He made a little adjustment in his swing,” Girardi said. “He swung the bat really good the other night. He’s swung the bat pretty good for us. As I told Lyle, I’m just going to see what happens. It doesn’t mean that (Overbay) won’t play tomorrow because he could very well be back in there tomorrow. I just want to see with the adjustments that Mark has made, if he can be extremely productive, because we’ve seen him. We’ve seen him get extremely hot, and you look at what he did with Cleveland for that month in April. That would be huge for us if he could do that.”
• Robinson Cano hit inside earlier today, and he seems to have come through full batting practice with no problems. I wasn’t on the field when Cano finished hitting, but he told Sweeny Murti that he’s definitely good to go. This was the first time he’d hit normal BP or fielded grounders since the hit by pitch.
• Eduardo Nunez was also testing himself during batting practice. Wearing a new brace on his right knee, Nunez went out to do some running and said he felt confident that his knee was better. “A lot better,” he said. “I think I can play today if they need me. I hope.”
• Despite Nunez’s progress, Girardi said he likely would have moved Reynolds to second base had Cano not come through batting practice feeling healthy enough to play.
• Girardi on Romine catching today: “I’ve kind of had Romine catching CC lately. With the day game after the night game tomorrow, Stew’s going to get one of those days off. I try to keep things familiar for catchers instead of trying to change it up, because I always felt like that was important.”
• The Orioles have acquired outfielder Michael Morse from the Mariners for minor league outfielder Xavier Avery. That said, Morse is not in the lineup for tonight’s game.
• Girardi on the importance of these games: “I think (the players) would have had to have been on another planet not to know how important this stretch of games is for us. They understand. These guys are used to playing in October, and that’s our goal.”
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Danny Valencia DH
Alexi Casilla 2B
Taylor Teagarden C
Associated Press photos