Rockies and Reynolds finalize 1-year, $2.6 million deal

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DENVER (AP) — Given the chance, Mark Reynolds believes he can be a 30-homer player again.

Hitting at Coors Field should help. So, too, will the pledge of steady at bats if he's producing for the Colorado Rockies.

"My power hasn't gone anywhere," said Reynolds, who finalized a one-year, $2.6 million deal Wednesday. "Just playing time has gone down. That's why my home runs are down."

The 32-year-old Reynolds hasn't reached the 30-homer plateau since 2011, when he hit 37 with Baltimore. He's averaged nearly 20 the last four seasons, including 13 in 2015 when he played for St. Louis.

Going from pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium to hitter-cozy Coors Field is a big boost for his bat. He's a lifetime .287 hitter in Denver, one of his highest marks anywhere he's had at least 75 at-bats.

"Not only the physical aspect of not being at Busch, but the mental side, just knowing that I don't have to square a ball up 100 percent to get it out of there," Reynolds explained. "You have a lot more confidence hitting at Coors."

Reynolds figures to compete at first base with Ben Paulsen. He also will spell slick fielding Nolan Arenado at third base from time to time. Reynolds may even play some in the outfield for manager Walt Weiss.

"Talked to Walt and he said there's some at-bats. If I'm playing well, he's going to keep playing me," Reynolds said. "If you don't get 600 at-bats, it's hard to put up those numbers people are used to seeing.

"Hopefully, I can live up to what everyone thinks I can do and what I think I can do there."

Reynolds has $1.1 million in performance bonuses built into his deal: $100,000 for 100 plate appearances, $200,000 each for 200 and 300, and $300,000 each for 400 and 500.

A right-handed batter, Reynolds is coming off a season in which he hit .230 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 140 games with the Cardinals. He set career highs in 2009 with Arizona when he had 44 homers, 102 RBIs and 223 strikeouts, which is a big league record.

He's quick to point out that his strikeout rate has dropped over the years. Last season, he fanned 121 times in 432 plate appearances.

"When I was younger in my career, I was always trying to go deep," Reynolds said. "The fact I'm getting more mature and understanding more of what's going on is hopefully helping that number (of strikeouts) come down as well.

"Hopefully can go in there and play well and Walt will keep throwing me out there and let me do my thing."


AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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