SARASOTA, Fla. - After two neck surgeries that limited him to 56 games total the last two years, Nolan Reimold is trying to make up for some lost time here at spring training and show the Orioles he can be a productive player again.
Today was a nice step in the right direction for Reimold. He went 2-for-3 with a single and two-run homer. He also made a loud out, lining into a double play in the seventh. He hit a two-run shot to left off A.J. Burnett in the fifth inning during the O's 6-5 loss to the Phillies.
"Always feels good to hit the ball hard," Reimold said. "I keep making progress and keep feeling better at the plate. Keep working. Getting results helps and it's just a matter of finding it again. Been a long time. I can keep improving, keep getting better and stronger.
"I feel a lot more normal than last year. My arm is more normal. It felt like I had two different arms last year, but most of the time it feels pretty good and is definitely stronger than last year."
Reimold began today 3-for-14 with three singles over five games. He is now batting .294 (5-for-17) with a homer and four RBIs.
But is Reimold battling the calender a bit here? With opening day less than three weeks away and with a roster crush to come for opening day roster spots, does Reimold have to show more consistency real soon?
"I don't know, you can't really be in a rush to produce," he said. "The last two years, two neck surgeries and struggles. I didn't expect to come out and start hitting lazors everywhere. I knew it would be a bit of a struggle to get timing and my swing right. I knew eventually it would come and hopefully just keep improving."
Meanwhile, after today's game, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez was reassigned to minor league camp. The O's No. 3 prospect according to Baseball America made three spring outings and gave up eight runs and 12 hits over six innings. Today, he allowed five hits and two runs over two innings against the Phillies.
How does he feel about his time in big league camp?
"I'm not happy, no, because they got too many runs," Rodriguez said. "But I was coming here for more experience and to learn how to pitch.
"I was here last year and talked to these guys and they helped me. (Johan) Santana here helped me with my changeup. I got more experience here this time. He helped me every day."
Now Rodriguez will head to the O's minor league camp to get more innings and get ready for the regular season.
"I don't know what team they'll send me to," Rodriguez said. "To (Double-A) Bowie or (Triple-A) Norfolk, but I have to be better this year. I have to. I have to work harder to be here in the big leagues."