No one from the club - Showalter included - has said with certainty that Reimold is the starting left fielder moving forward. But in an interview at the Winter Meetings with Mel Antonen of MASN’s “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report,” here is what Buck said about Reimold:
“(I want him) just to continue to be healthy. ... I like Nolan a lot. I don’t think there are many right-handed hitters that run better than Nolan Reimold. There is a part of you that wants to part the waters and say ‘Nolan there you go, let’s go, 500 or 600 at bats.’
“He was impressive to me last year. I think there is a lot more there and you throw out the age because Nolan has had a lot of little nagging injuries along the way.
“He finally got a chance to show us what he is capable of doing from a health standpoint. I’m a big Nolan Reimold fan. He’s a guy you can trust physically and emotionally. He’s got a chance to be a part of something.”
Those may be the strongest comments yet from Showalter in support of the 28-year-old Reimold, who was the Orioles’ second-round pick at 22 out of Bowling Green in the 2005 draft.
In September, Reimold showed a combination of power and speed with an OPS of .973 in the month and he went 6-for-6 stealing bases.
In parts of the last three seasons with the Orioles, Reimold has 741 career at-bats and has hit .256 with 33 doubles, five triples, 31 homers, 104 RBIs, a .440 slugging average and .779 OPS.
On Aug. 10, Reimold hit his second career walk-off homer and this one came against the White Sox after he hit one against Toronto on May 27, 2009.
Since 2000, only three other Orioles have two walk-off homers:
* Cal Ripken (both in 2000)
* Tony Batista (2002, 2003)
* Brian Roberts (2005, 2010)
Walk-offs or not, I think it is time for Reimold to walk into the starting lineup and stay there all year. The most at-bats he’s ever had in the majors in one year is 358.
Showalter sounds ready to give Reimold a shot at regular playing time in left field. I say that is a good move.