Reynolds 'excited' to start fresh with Yankees

Reynolds 'excited' to start fresh with Yankees

Reynolds 'excited' to start fresh with Yankees

BOSTON -- The Yankees and Mark Reynolds discussed the terms of a possible contract this past offseason, with the club searching for a slugger to play at the infield corners.

They did not come together at the time, but Reynolds has found his way into a Yankees uniform months later. Released by the Indians last week, Reynolds was in New York's lineup as the first baseman for Friday's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"I think just being here and playing in Yankee Stadium all the time and being a part of the history, that's obviously appealing to anyone," said Reynolds, who officially signed with the Yankees as a free agent prior to Friday's game.

The Yankees were speaking to both Reynolds and Kevin Youkilis during the Winter Meetings in December; Reynolds jumped first, signing a one-year, $6 million deal with Cleveland, prompting the Yankees to offer a $12 million deal to Youkilis.

"I think it came down to me or Youk to Cleveland or here, one way or another, and we just got it done first with Cleveland, and Youk came here," Reynolds said. "So there was some interest.

"It was definitely both ways. I think the biggest thing for me was Cleveland having Spring Training in Arizona. I live there and got to stay home for an extra month."

In a corresponding roster move Friday, the Yankees optioned right-hander Preston Claiborne to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

They also designated infielder Luis Cruz for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Reynolds, whom manager Joe Girardi views as a legitimate power threat who will be asked to play mostly first base in a platoon with Lyle Overbay, and perhaps some third base as well.

"We saw him play against us a lot last year," Girardi said. "He can really swing the bat, hit the ball out of the ballpark, and played an excellent first base, I thought, for Baltimore in the games that we saw him play there. He can change the game quickly."

Reynolds got off to a hot start in Cleveland, batting .301 with eight homers in April, but he compiled just a .187 batting average since since. Overall, Reynolds hit .215 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs with the Indians.

"You hear the whole 'change of scenery' cliché all the time, and it's true," Reynolds said. "I feel like it's my first day in the big leagues again today, with a new team and a new atmosphere. It's fun. I'm excited. I'm just ready to go out there and play."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.