SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter pulled Nolan Reimold aside yesterday and made sure the outfielder didn't feel as though he had to push himself too hard in an attempt to make the club.
Reimold has been participating in all the drills and taking batting practice this spring, eight months after undergoing surgery to remove a herniated disc in his neck and fuse two vertebrae.
"I had a little conversation with Nolan yesterday," Showalter said. "I think he needs to know that if he's not running on all cylinders the first week, somebody's not going to ... I expect that if he's healthy, he's on our club. If he shows us he's healthy and recovered and doing the things he's capable of doing. That's what I wanted him to hear from me yesterday.
"There will come a time this spring where we'll say, 'OK, where are we with Nolan?' I said, 'We're a long way away from that, Nolan.' I don't want him to feel like if he has to back off a BP session or even a defense or some station. We're talking to him about what he can and can't do or thinks still has got to come, just getting our arms about it.
"I was talking to Robby (Brian Roberts) a little bit today. I think they'll understand that we have a long memory of what they're capable of doing, so Nolan and Brian, we're real happy with where they are right now."
Reimold will compete with Nate McLouth for the left field job, and he could get plenty of at-bats as the designated hitter. First base isn't an option.
"No," Showalter said, shooting down that idea again.
Showalter also repeated that Manny Machado will stay at third base. Machado won't slide over to shortstop this spring.
Does Showalter allow Machado to think he's already made the club or that he's competing for a job?
"I don't want to insult anybody's intelligence," Showalter replied.
Of course, Machado is the starting third baseman.
"It's not so much that I'm going to tell him that," Showalter said. "His actions will speak so loudly that I won't be able to hear a word that he said or I say. This isn't about ... If I feel like this has to be said, we have options at every place. I have high expectations of him bringing what he needs to bring for us to continue to think that he can contribute for us."
Alexi Casilla will get most of his work at second base, but he'll also play shortstop and third base. Showalter must determine who will back up J.J. Hardy.
"We have to get our arms around his ability to play other places," Showalter said. "We do have to make sure we're covered at short."