Patterson doubles with bases loaded for Athletics |

Patterson doubles with bases loaded for Athletics

PHOENIX (AP) – Mark Reynolds said he’s more relaxed after signing a new three-year, $14.5 million contract on Thursday, and it showed.

Reynolds hit his second homer of the spring and added a double that led to another run in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

The third baseman said that negotiations were “wearing on me a little bit. But now that it’s official, it feels good.”

The 26-year-old Reynolds has emerged as one of the top power hitters in the National League, hitting 44 home runs and driving in 102 runs in 155 games last season. He has 89 home runs, 261 RBIs and a .257 average in three seasons.

Reynolds will receive a $1 million signing bonus and a $500,000 salary for this season. He will earn $5 million in 2011 and $7.5 million in 2012 with an $11 million team option for 2013 that includes a $500,000 buyout.

The contract covers Reynolds’ first two arbitration years, a scenario similar to the six-year, $51.25 million deal that outfielder Justin Upton recently signed. Reynolds and Upton are Virginia natives.

“J-Up and I have been together awhile, and we’ll be together for a longer time,” Reynolds said Thursday. “We will continue to play the game the way we know how to play, how we learned in Virginia.”

Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said that avoiding arbitration “makes sense. It’s a matter of tailoring it to the player.”

Reynolds began his career as a shortstop but moved to third base when the Diamondbacks’ Chad Tracy was having trouble staying healthy.

“He (Reynolds) has been working hard at it. He is a tough, accountable player,” Byrnes said.

“I still have to go out and play, still prove what I’m worth,” Reynolds said. “It’s not going to change me one bit. I’ll still be my same, old self.”

He is optimistic about the team’s chances in the National League West this season.

“We’ve got a good, young lineup. Now we have to get “Webby” (pitcher Brandon Webb) back on track,” he said.

Webb, who won the National League Cy Young in 2006, has been slow to come back from shoulder surgery and likely will begin the regular season on the disabled list.

The uncertainty surrounding Webb opens up a slot for a No. 5 starter. The most likely candidates are right-hander Billy Buckner, who came up through the team’s minor league system, and Rodrigo Lopez, a veteran right-hander who signed as a free agent.

Lopez started Thursday’s game and gave up one hit in three shutout innings.

Reynolds’ double in the fourth inning helped Arizona take a 3-2 lead. It allowed Upton, who had been hit by a pitch, to move to third. Upton scored on a wild pitch by Tyson Ross.

But Oakland rallied for four runs in its half of the fourth. The key hit was a bases-loaded double by Eric Patterson.

NOTES: Oakland optioned right-hander Justin Souza to Double-A Midland, Texas. … First baseman Eric Chavez played consecutive games for the first time this spring, but will sit out Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies in Tucson. … Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp continues to take it day to day with shoulder soreness. … Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche did not play Thursday, but will take a seven-game hitting streak into Friday’s contest against the Kansas City Royals in Tucson.