Stacey Long: Finding playing time for Reimold should be a priority

After a good rookie year in 2009, Nolan Reimold just couldn’t get his act together in 2010. There’s no way to know exactly what happened to Reimold last year, but between his documented personal issues, the fact that he was recovering from surgery on his Achilles tendon and his impressive minor league numbers since being drafted, not many people were writing off Reimold’s 2009 as a fluke.

Reimold was the odd man out after Vladimir Guerrero was signed, but found his way back to Baltimore on May 20. Since then, he has made 15 starts, all but two of which were against lefties (Luke Scott played first base on both occasions). In just 56 plate appearances, he is hitting .261/.375/.478 with three home runs and eight walks.

The question that I’ve been asking is this: When did Nolan Reimold become someone that should only face left-handed pitchers? His minor league splits show that he does hit lefties better (as do most right-handed batters), but nothing so stark to suggest that he shouldn’t get at-bats against right-handed pitchers. In his brief major league career, Reimold is .260/.342/.429 versus righties and .264/.357/.447 against lefties. That doesn’t seem like a large enough gap to determine this early in his career that he should be platooned.

Sure, it’s hard for him to get playing time with Luke Scott and his bum shoulder manning left field and Vladimir Guerrero busy hitting singles from the designated hitter position. It’s understandable that he’s going to have to settle for being a part-time player, because no one is going to bench Guerrero. But it’s a shame that a young player with his potential is sitting on the bench against right-handed pitchers in favor of Felix Pie. Since Reimold’s call-up, Felix Pie has made seven starts in left field against right-handed pitchers. In those games, he has gone 5-for-29 (.172) with zero walks. That’s what was chosen in favor of Riemold? Is the defense that Pie adds really enough to make up for what Reimold might have done with those 29 at-bats?

So yes, it’s hard to find steady playing time for Reimold, and it will continue to be hard until someone gets hurt or traded. But given Reimold’s history, it seems that it could only help the Orioles to give him a chance against righties and give him the at-bats that otherwise go to Pie.

Stacey Long blogs about the Orioles at Camden Chat. Read Long’s Orioles observations as part of’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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