Reynolds willing to play anywhere for Orioles

SportsBaseballMark ReynoldsBaltimore OriolesBrian MatuszToronto Blue JaysWilson Betemit

Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds, who made his second straight start at designated hitter Saturday against the Blue Jays, said he is willing to play anywhere for the benefit of the team.

Reynolds has yet to play third base in the first two games of this 10-game road trip, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday he wants to utilize Reynolds at other positions.

Reynolds, who made two errors in five starts at third, said he initiated a meeting with Showalter. Last season, Reynolds made 26 errors in 114 games at third base.

"It was like a couple days ago," Reynolds said. "I don't want him to feel obligated to put me somewhere he doesn't think is either best for me or best for the team — or best for everybody to succeed. I told him that time winning in Arizona (in 2007) was the best time I ever had. I think we have a good team here, so whatever's best for the team and whatever's best for us to succeed, it's whatever he wants to do."

Showalter said before Friday's game Reynolds will begin to take some grounders at first base with infield coach DeMarlo Hale. Reynolds said he's willing. He said he hasn't been told that and doesn't have a first-base mitt with him but could easily get one.

"He just wants to do whatever, be a good teammate," Showalter said. "However we choose to use him, he's in. So it's good to hear.

"We'll see what [Sunday] brings," Showalter added. "I told you, we're going to move people around. If it becomes a story, in their minds, it's not really. But I understand how everybody else perceives it. It's just, 'Ok what's the best way for us to win a baseball game.' They're all going to contribute in some form or fashion in a series or in a week or what have you. It bodes well for our morale if we can keep him in the presentation we make to win baseball games. We have to keep that mentality."

Showalter started Wilson Betemit at third for the second straight day. And while Betemit played well Friday, he made a key fielding error at third that extended the Blue Jays' two-run sixth on Saturday.

"Wilson has presented himself well, as has Mark," Showalter said. "Mark's made some great plays over there. We're lucky to have two guys. I don't spend a lot of time critiquing which guy is better than the other one. I dwell on the fact that we have two quality people. I could put Chris (Davis) there, I could put (Ryan) Flaherty there. We didn't have this luxury before."

Reynolds said he's fine moving to first, where he made five errors in 44 games last season. Reynolds also played two games in the outfield in 2007and played second base the same year and throughout the minors.

"I'll keep working everywhere, be ready to go wherever he puts me," Reynolds said.

Wada throws six scoreless in extended spring start

Orioles left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada threw 100 pitches in an extended spring training game in Florida on Saturday and will make his next start in aTriple-A game next week.

Wada, placed on the disabled list on April 4 to give him time to elevate his pitch count, threw six scoreless innings against the Rays minor leaguers in Port Charlotte, allowing just two hits. He struck out seven but walked five.

Showalter said he's leaning toward sending Wada to Triple-A Norfolk to pitch in Thursday's game at Gwinnett (Ga.) so he can pitch in a warmer environment. There's an outside chance Wada throws on Friday for Double-A Bowie at home.

"If he feels good [Sunday] and takes his work day (well), he will probably join that club in Gwinnett, but that's yet to be determined," Showalter said.

Showalter said the team will determine when Wada should join the team following that start. The Orioles will be on the last leg of their 10-game road trip in Anaheim.

"He's ready to go now," Showalter said. "Physically, I'm hoping he pitches well in his next start and we'll decide after that whether he needs another one or not. I'm hoping that's the decision."

When Wada signed a two-year, $8.14-million contract with a third-year option this offseason, there was a clause in his deal that didn't allow the Orioles to send him to the minors without his consent. His start in Norfolk does not qualify since it's technically a DL rehab start.

He became eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday.

Matusz hoping to reverse fortunes vs. Jays

Left-hander Brian Matusz, the Orioles' starter in this afternoon's series finale against Toronto, has struggled in three starts against the Blue Jays.

Matusz is 0-2 with an 18.56 ERA against Toronto, and he hasn't completed three innings in any of those starts.

In Matusz's only previous start at the Rogers Centre, Matusz allowed five earned runs on seven hits (including three homers) and two walks in 2 2/3 innings on Aug. 9, 2009, which was Matusz's second big-league start. In his most recent start against the Jays — on Sept. 13, 2010 — Matusz was forced from the game in the second inning after getting hit by a liner.

"Yeah, it's important to go deep in the games, give the team a chance to win," Matusz said. "A starting pitcher's goal is to go as deep as possible and give the ball to that closer, setup man.

"That's the goal is to go deep in the game and take it inning by inning," he added. "You want to be able to attack the zone and not be over-amped to throw it by guys but you still want to put conviction behind that ball, so it's all about being able to find that groove."

Matusz lasted just four innings (96 pitches) in his first start of the season on Monday, allowing six hits and four earned runs in four innings in a 6-2 loss to the Yankees. He battled with his control throughout, elevating his pitch count early.

"The first week making the team and being excited to have first start against the Yankees, there was a lot of excitement there," Matusz said. "So, you know this next start I'm just going to go out there with confidence, attack the zone and get guys out based on location, not going out there and trying to blow guys away. That's the main emphasis for (Sunday).

"In that Yankee game I was just trying to throw it by guys, do a little bit more than I had in spring training. So for me it's just settling in and making the pitches"

Around the horn

Before Saturday's game, Showalter had scheduled to give catcher Matt Wieters his first day off Sunday, as well as give rookie utility man Ryan Flaherty his first start of his big-league career. … When Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter allowed four homers in Friday night's 7-5 win over the Blue Jays, it marked just the sixth time in which the Orioles won a game in which their starter allowed four or more homers. The other pitchers were Mike Cuellar, Mike Mussina (twice), Bruce Chen and Brian Burres. … Friday night's game also marked the first time this season in which the Orioles scored in the eighth or ninth innings. Betemit hit a two-run single in the eighth and Nolan Reimold homered in the ninth. … The Orioles' seven-run offensive output was just the second time in 24 games at the Rogers Centre scoring five or more runs in a game. They scored 12 runs on July 26, 2011.

eencina@baltsun.com

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