Reinheimer raking in reduced at-bats with Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. - Jack Reinheimer can remember making one start for the Orioles this spring, though he might not be able to nail down the date.

Reinheimer keeps coming off the bench, mainly to play shortstop or second base and to get his daily at-bat. And what often follows is a line drive that finds grass in the outfield.

Is there a quieter .407/.429/.593 slash line in the Grapefruit League?

Reinheimer has appeared in 20 games, one fewer than team leader Drew Jackson, and accumulated 27 at-bats. He’s collected 11 hits, including two doubles and a home run and is tied with Cedric Mullins for the team lead in stolen bases with four.

No need to arrive early for your daily dose of Reinheimer. Wait for him.

He started at second base on Feb. 27 against the Red Sox in Fort Myers and came off the bench again the following day to replace Alcides Escobar at shortstop. One trip to the plate and a seat on the bus for the ride back from Clearwater.

Reinheimer-Throws-Orange-Sidebar.jpg“It’s been mostly the back end of games, but you’ve just got to kind of roll with it,” he said. “As long as you’re prepared and you get your work in, it’s the same thing. As long as you’re getting at-bats.”

Monday afternoon’s game against the Tigers in Lakeland provided Reinheimer with an opportunity to garner three plate appearances. A bounty by the standards set for him in camp.

Replacing Escobar in the bottom of the fifth inning, Reinheimer singled, walked and scored a run. He also made a nice backhanded grab of Will Maddox’s scorching line drive off Mychal Givens in the ninth inning, showing again that his reflexes were intact.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “I’m glad that some of the results were there. You’re always working on stuff in spring, but it’s good knowing that I can kind of hit the ground running going into the season.”

The Orioles start their season in the Bronx and Reinheimer, 26, isn’t expected to join them with Jackson leading the utility race and Escobar still in camp. Jace Peterson is batting .355/.459/.452 in 17 games. Richie Martin, the first player selected in the Rule 5 draft, appears to be the starting shortstop. It’s just too crowded.

“You know what? To be honest, I try not to think about that kind of stuff,” Reinheimer said. “Just try to control what I can control. Focus on what I can control and kind of let the rest play out.”

The Orioles have made three rounds of cuts and Reinheimer is still here. That in itself is an accomplishment after they designated him for assignment on Feb. 7 to make room for Nate Karns on the 40-man roster.

Three teams claimed him off waivers during the offseason. It hasn’t been a smooth ride. But he’s still got a locker in the home clubhouse at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

“That’s not a bad thing,” he said, smiling. “But again, just try not to get distracted by that stuff and just control what I can control.”

Reinheimer has a corner locker next to Jackson, one of the camp standouts and a friend from their days together in the Mariners system. Reinheimer was a fifth-round pick in 2013 out of East Carolina University who was traded with Welington Castillo and two other players to the Diamondbacks in 2015 for Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuño, beginning his tour of major league organizations.

Mets, Cubs, Rangers and Orioles since July 2018.

Jackson was drafted in the fifth round in 2015 out of Stanford University. The Phillies selected him from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 draft and the Orioles acquired him on the same day for international signing bonus slots.

“Great player,” said Reinheimer, who appeared in two games with Arizona in 2017 and 21 with the Mets last summer, going 5-for-30 with five walks and nine strikeouts. “Really versatile, can play everywhere. Athletic player, smart player.

“He’s a great dude and I’m pulling for him.”

Reinheimer should have his own cheering section for making the best of his situation. However many at-bats he gets, however late they come, against whichever minor leaguer is on the mound.

The hits keep coming.

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