Reynolds Becoming His Own Hitter

Kyle Reynolds (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)

The son of a former major league infielder, Kyle Reynolds always knew he had the ability to play pro ball. But for Reynolds to take the biggest step forward in his pro career, it took an injury and over two weeks worth of missed playing time.

While playing for Class High-A Daytona in the Florida State League last summer, the son of former big leaguer Craig Reynolds went down with an ankle injury in early June. Rather than just sit around and wait on the injury to heal, though, Reynolds used his time out of the lineup to get in touch with himself – and his swing.

As it turns out, the injury was a blessing in disguise.

"Looking back, that was probably the best thing that happened to me," the 24-year-old Reynolds said. "I was out and during that time, I got to study my swing and work with [Daytona Hitting Coach] Richie Zisk. When I came back, things took off."

Did they ever. Reynolds would close last season with a .282 average in 109 games, earning a second-half promotion to Class AA Tennessee. Moreover, he finished with a career-high 21 home runs – 20 of which came in the second half, post-injury.

Reynolds said he always knew he had the ability to hit for power. The work he put in with Zisk is what helped him carry it over from the batting cages into games.

"I worked with Richie a lot last year and he helped me with my bat plane and just my swing in general," said Reynolds. "Once I got my swing straightened out, the ability that I had to hit for power started showing in games."

Reynolds' turn-around was a two-way street: half mechanics and half confidence. Making all of the necessary adjustments mechanically enabled him to go to bat and focus only on hitting the ball for the first time in his professional career, he said.

"If you're going up to the plate thinking about your mechanics, you don't think about hitting the baseball," said Reynolds. "All you're thinking about is swinging, not hitting the ball. When I got the confidence in what I was doing with my swing, I could go up there and not think about anything except seeing the baseball and hitting it.

"That's when things really started taking off for me."

From the organization's standpoint, Reynolds' resurgence has been a welcome sight, said Cubs Minor League Hitting Coordinator Dave Keller.

"It was like all of a sudden, things clicked and the light went on," Keller said. "It's one of those things where you talk to players about finding a consistent rhythm that they can deal with every day. He found it and took it to Double-A with him. He had some very big at-bats for them, some big home runs and some big hits. He was a very instrumental part of (Tennessee's) second half and getting them into the playoffs."

Keller added: "I think for a while, he was fighting himself because he was trying to figure out what kind of hitter he was going to be."

The left-handed hitting Reynolds seems to have found the answer. After batting .281 with nine home runs, nine doubles and 35 RBIs in 35 games with Tennessee last summer, he was reassigned to Double-A for the start of 2008.

Reynolds began the new season with one hit in his first 13 at-bats before collecting two hits in the Smokies' 2-1 loss at Birmingham on Monday.

"All I'm really focused on now is just having a good at-bat," said Reynolds. "That's another thing I learned last year: with every single pitch, I get to start over and not worry about anything. I'm not worried about striking out or hitting a home run. You just have to take it one pitch at a time because you're only as good as your last at-bat."

PALM BEACH 9, DAYTONA 0 (CLASS HIGH-A)

At Daytona, the Cubs were held to four hits in a shutout loss on Tuesday. Third baseman Josh Lansford recorded two hits, including a double – his first extra-base hit of the season. RHP Esmailin Caridad (0-1) started and suffered the loss for Daytona (3-3), yielding four runs and five hits in four innings.

IOWA (CLASS AAA), PEORIA (CLASS A) POSTPONED

At Des Moines and Peoria, inclement weather postponed Tuesday's scheduled Iowa Cubs (2-3) and Peoria Chiefs (2-3) games. Iowa's game against Albuquerque was rescheduled for June 28 as part of a doubleheader. Peoria's game against Beloit is scheduled to be made up as part of a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. CDT Wednesday. Class AA Tennessee (3-2) was idle Tuesday.

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