The Baltimore Orioles invited Nolan Reimold to Spring Training as a non-roster player. The invitation carried no guarantee and had the appearance of a professional courtesy to a former player with a long injury history. Now, with just a week to go before Opening Day, Reimold is poised to make the trip North with the Orioles.
Reimold was Baltimore’s second round pick in the 2005 June draft and made his big league debut in 2009. After slamming 15 home runs in 104 games as a rookie Reimold battled injuries and inconsistency over the next several seasons. Reimold gave O’s fans one last glimmer of hope when he opened the 2012 season as the team’s leadoff hitter and left fielder. After batting .313 with five home runs in the Orioles’ first 16 games Reimold was sidelined with a neck injury. He battled back to play 40 ineffective games for the 2013 Orioles before he was finally cut loose.
Reimold caught on with the Toronto Blue Jays last season. After batting just .212 in 22 games for Toronto Reimold was placed on waivers. The Arizona Diamondbacks claimed Reimold off waivers and gave him 17 at bats in September. After finally logging a fairly healthy season the Orioles are poised to give their once prized prospect another chance.
The recent back and hamstring troubles of David Lough have opened the door for Reimold. Lough spent the 2014 season as the Orioles’ fourth outfielder and primary pinch runner. Lough’s game is all defense and speed. A hamstring injury to such a player could be devastating. The Orioles will likely proceed with caution when it comes to Lough which could mean a trip to the disabled list. With Lough shelved for the past week Reimold has picked up extra playing time. The veteran has responded by batting .297 in 37 at bats this spring.
Orioles fans may groan when they hear the name Nolan Reimold. After years as a top prospect and his impressive rookie campaign Reimold became a constant source of disappointment in Baltimore. Reimold, who is two years removed from his last appearance in an O’s uniform, is finally healthy and ready to contribute. He may soon get his chance thanks to another player’s misfortune.