When bench coach John Russell emerged from the coaches' room Sunday morning and began posting the O's lineup, I wrote down the names. The first thing I noticed was rookie Matt Angle leading off and playing left field in his MLB debut.
"Interesting," I thought.
Then, Nolan Reimold popped up behind me, took a quick glance at the lineup, noticed he wasn't in it, and calmly walked back in the clubhouse. It's a routine Reimold has gone through often since being recalled from Triple A Norfolk May 20th.
"I'm sure everybody on the team wants to play every day. I'm no different," said Reimold. "So when you get the opportunity to play, you just have to take advantage of it. "
I don't see Angle taking many of Reimold's starts in left. He probably won't be in the big leagues that long, so it's a non issue, but after a tough year in 2010, Reimold is anxious to show he can produce offensively as he did in a successful 2009 rookie campaign.
"I'm appreciative to be up here in the big leagues. I know I'm getting to that point where I've got to seize the opportunity. I feel like I seized it once, but I've got to do it again, so hopefully I'll take advantage of the playing time I get when I get in there," said Reimold.
Going forward, the organization should play Reimold as many consecutive days as possible. He's been playing more lately with Luke Scott on the disabled list, but even when Scott returns Reimold should get his share of at-bats.
Why not run him out there? Of the O's left field options right now, Reimold has the most upside.
Sure, his defense isn't exactly stellar, but between Reimold, Felix Pie and Scott, nobody is expecting to see spectacular plays in left field anyway. At least Reimold has the chance to put up some offensive numbers. He brings not just power, but a good eye, and he's a hustler down the line, so I think he could be a high on-base percentage guy.
I'm not sure Buck Showalter is sold on Reimold, and it's obvious the Orioles still want to see if Pie's brain can ever catch up to his "tools". While I always was impressed with Pie's physical ability, I've seen too many bad decisions on the base paths and misplayed or misjudged balls in the outfield to still believe there's a high ceiling there. .
Reimold says he isn't competing with Pie. "I don't think of it like that. I just think of it like when you get the chance to play you play. If you're worried about what other guys are doing then it'll affect you. "
Part of the equation is Reimold still has minor league options while Pie does not. When/if the Orioles decide Pie is not cutting it, they'll have to be truly done with him because they can't just send him down to Triple A.
Right now, the Orioles do not have a leftfielder of the future and the platoon approach is getting old. Reimold is the team's best bet right now, but he needs to play and I'm sure by season's end that'll be the case.