Markakis, Reimold not among first choices at first base

If the Orioles don’t acquire another first baseman, Chris Davis will be playing the not-so-hot corner on opening day at Tropicana Field. Manager Buck Showalter is prepared to give Davis the job, with the full support of executive vice president Dan Duquette.

As the roster is currently constructed, Wilson Betemit would back up Davis as one of Showalter’s four reserves.

In the meantime, Duquette continues to search for another bat, whether it’s for first base or as designated hitter or a combination of both.

I’ve been asked about the possibility of two other players currently on the roster moving to first next season - Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold.

There’s been no indication that the Orioles are considering a switch for Markakis, who won a Gold Glove in right field in 2011 and might have taken home another one this year if he had remained healthy. I heard a rumor at the Winter Meetings, which proved to be false, that he was working out at first in Sarasota.

Markakis played three games at first in 2011, making two starts. He enjoyed it. He suggested it. But he’s not expected to go back.

Some people think the defense would be better with Markakis at first and Davis in right than the other way around, but it’s not a consideration at the moment.

Reimold has never played first in the majors. His body of work consists of 204 games in the outfield. He’s played 30 games at first in the minors, 29 of them in 2010.

Showalter believes he can get Reimold and Nate McLouth in the lineup at the same time. Reimold most likely would be serving as the DH in that scenario, but it’s worth checking whether Reimold takes ground balls at first in spring training and gets some starts in exhibition games.

The Orioles have been placing greater emphasis on defense, so they won’t consider Reimold at first if he’s going to look like Luke Scott or, worse, Javy Lopez.

Reimold’s defense in left has improved, especially after his Achilles healed, but he’s not a former Gold Glove winner like McLouth. It makes more sense to move him than Markakis.

If the Orioles are including Reimold among the first base candidates next season, they’re not stating it publicly. He’s only been lumped with the other outfielders.

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