Offseason provides extra refinement
Special to The R-C
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Reno shortstop Jack Reinheimer didn’t get much time off during the offseason.
The 25-year-old shortstop, who has played for the Aces for two years and was set to start for Reno in the home opener on Thursday, spent the autumn working on techniques and hitting in the Arizona Fall League and then used the rest of the time to work independently until spring training began in late February.
For the past two seasons, the Charlotte, N.C. native has provided a steady arm and wide range of mobility as the Aces’ shortstop. Reinheimer began his professional baseball career with the Mariners organization n 2013, but he was traded along with outfielder Gabby Guerrero, catcher Welington Castillo and right-handed pitcher Dominic Leone to Arizona for Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuño on June 3, 2015.
Reinheimer, who played for East Carolina University, played the rest of 2015 at Mobile, the D-backs Double-A affiliate. He said the fall league gives him and other minor league players an opportunity to improve their game.
“It was a good experience to be able to work on the same things,” he said. “I felt good, body felt good … that was a positive,” he said. “It’s kind of a grind to play baseball (in the fall league), but there are things you want to work with on. It’s beneficial.”
Six teams, all with major-league affiliation, competed against each other. Reinheimer said each team played a game each day against good competition.
“The offseason gave me specific things I wanted to key on,” he added.
The D-backs invited Reinheimer to their spring training camp but sent the shortstop down to Reno after St. Patrick’s Day. During his training with both the D-backs and Aces, he called the experience a “constant work in progress.”
“It’s going well,” he explained. “The bats are not going as well as I like, but it comes with the territory. My timing is off.”
Reinheimer said spring training is where players benefit from the extra work and instruction, most of which is done before games.
“The days are long but certainly good when you’re working on things,” he said.
Reinheimer said he definitely progressed from 2016 to 2017. Not only did he play shortstop but also branched out to third base and also second.
“I felt pretty good playing all three positions,” he said of his infield experience.
During the 2017 season in August, Arizona called him up Reinheimer from the Aces. At the time the D-backs were shallow in the middle of the infield, and Reinheimer headed to the major leagues to provide some depth on the infield bench. His stay lasted three days, though, when Ketel Marte returned from bereavement leave. In two games with Arizona, Reinheimer went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
Reinheimer has been solid for the past two years. He played in 132 games in 2016 and 129 last year. He finished the 2015 season with a .288 batting average with 144 hits, but his on-base percentage was .353. In 2016, he batted .278, had 134 hits including 19 doubles and finished the season with an OBP of .341.
Going into the 2018 season, Reinheimer has established goals.
“I want to continue on what I have worked on and stay true in my approach and not get too high, not get too low and keep grinding,” he said.