SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles sent Nolan Reimold to minor league camp today to get a lot of at-bats as he continues to progress from two neck surgeries that limited him to a combined 195 at-bats the last two seasons.
Reimold certainly got his work in. He batted in both the Double-A and Triple-A exhibition games against Tampa Bay, often walking from one field to the next to take his hacks at the O's Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park.
As it turns out he didn't swing all that much. By his own estimate, he went to bat 12 times, but drew six walks with one hit, an infield hit to deep third base in the Double-A game.
At least he showed a good eye and wasn't chasing pitches.
"That's a good thing," Reimold said. "The umpires had a good zone today and I was able to take some pitches. Walks are good.
"I had a lot of good swings. I just kept fouling it off. That is why I'm here, to get that last little hitch, or whatever it is, out. I had some good swings and some good at-bats. I would take 1-for-6 with six walks any day."
Reimold, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer against the Phillies on Wednesday, said there is one mechanical issue in his swing that he is trying to eliminate right now.
"Just a matter of getting my swing down to where I can repeat it every time," he said.
Reimold embraced the chance to get the extra at-bats, even if it had to come at minor league camp.
"This was something I wanted to do. I needed to do this and you can get a lot out of it. I might be back tomorrow," he said before heading to the clubhouse.
Earlier this afternoon, some reports surfaced that O's pitching prospect Mike Wright was being shut down due to right elbow tendinitis. Imagine my surprise as I read the reports via Twitter as I was watching Wright pitch in today's Triple-A game. Unless there are two Mike Wrights, this one was not shut down.
Wright made the start and pitched two scoreless innings against the Rays, and after his outing, said he should be fine and that he felt real good today.
"Just a little elbow tenderness," said Wright, the O's No. 8 rated prospect according to Baseball America. "I just started getting a little bit of treatment to get the soreness out. Nothing big. Just a little bit of muscle pain.
"I just started getting treatment yesterday. I want to go into the season feeling 100 percent. Today I felt fantastic, so I'll continue doing that for the next few weeks."
Wright was recently cut from major league camp where he pitched in two games for the Orioles. Over three innings, he gave up three hits and one run with three walks and two strikeouts. Wright threw 32 pitches during his outing today and added 18 more in the bullpen.
"I was pretty happy. I got 0-2 on some guys and wound up throwing too many pitches," Wright said. "I just have to keep pounding the zone. I didn't walk anybody so that is good. I walked too many in big league camp for my liking. But today was good. I feel fantastic."
Wright is most likely going to start the year in Norfolk's rotation after a season where he went 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA for Double-A Bowie. On the final day of the minor league regular season last year, he made his Triple-A debut and pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings for the Tides in a must-win game for their playoff chances.
"Not putting words in anyone's mouth, but that is what I'm getting, that I'll probably start with Triple-A," Wright said.
The Orioles had eight prospects on the Surprise Saguaros team that won the Arizona Fall League championship in November. Those players will be presented their championship rings before the big league game Monday night at Ed Smith Stadium. A league official from the AFL will be on hand for the presentation.
The eight that played on that team are pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Tim Berry, Branden Kline and Jason Gurka, and position players Henry Urrutia, Dariel Alvarez, Jonathan Schoop and Michael Ohlman.
Bowie manager Gary Kendall managed Surprise and told me a few days after Surprise won the championship game that, "The Orioles made a statement that day." Read more on that here.
Right-hander Zach Davies pitched two scoreless innings this afternoon in a start for the Double-A team. Davies can fly under the radar sometimes, but probably should not. He is ranked as the organization's No. 11 prospect by Baseball America.
Davies has a smooth delivery with a solid arsenal of secondary pitches, led by an outstanding changeup. He finished 10th in the South Atlantic League in ERA for Single-A Delmarva in 2012 and was 10th last season for Single-A Frederick in the Carolina League.
He was drafted in the 26th round and signed to an over-slot bonus of $575,000 in 2011. He just turned 21 in February and is expected to begin the year in Bowie's rotation.
J.J. Cooper from Baseball America was a visitor to O's minor league camp today, gathering information and shooting some video of both O's and Rays prospects. He interviewed Ohlman for a future story.