Reimold's Triple-a Debut Shows Good Comes From Waiting

Baseball Orioles Minor League Spotlight

April 27, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

In an organization that has been burned by rushing prospects, the case of outfielder Nolan Reimold is a study in patience.

For him and for the Orioles.

Drafted out of Bowling Green in the second round in 2005, Reimold has progressed level by level.

Wherever he has been, the 6-foot-4 right-handed swinger has garnered attention with his raw and consistent power.

Now 25, Reimold is in his first month at Triple-A, and he's again making noise with his bat. Last week, he was named International League Batter of the Week after going 13-for-28 with a homer, nine RBIs and a .515 on-base percentage.

In his first 60 at-bats with the Tides, he is hitting .417 with six homers and 19 RBIs. He hit two solo homers in Norfolk's win Sunday.

"Obviously, you can always get better," Reimold said. "But I feel like every year and every month I've progressed. I'm feeling pretty good about my game, my approach and my swing right now."

The hiccups in his career came in 2006 and 2007, when he lost a chunk of games to injury - first a foot condition and then a back muscle pull while lifting weights at Single-A Frederick. The next year he was limited to 50 games at Bowie by an oblique strain.

"Those two years there were some freak things," Reimold said. "I guess you can't blame anybody that talked about me being injury-prone, but I don't think I am one of those players."

Last season, he re-established himself both as a top power threat - he had 25 homers and 29 doubles in 507 at-bats - and as durable by playing in a team-high 139 games. He also has made significant improvement in the field, switching from his natural position of right field to left.

"He is making good progress. He is a better-than-average runner in the field and has a much-better-than-average throwing arm," player development director David Stockstill said. "He needs to keep working on his consistency, his judging of fly balls and taking good routes."

With the way he has hit early on - and this spring in big league camp - there is just one question remaining with Reimold: When?

"Certainly I am not on the fast track like some prospects you see move through the minors," Reimold said. "But I think when I do get up there I will be ready from all the at-bats I have had in the minor leagues. I think in the long run it will be good for my career."

Stockstill warns that despite his advancing age and talent, Reimold is still learning. And he is in only his first month at Triple-A.

"He was at Double-A last year and hurt the year before. To take him up to the big leagues now would be rushing him. To leave him in Triple-A would be pretty normal," Stockstill said. "... The plan for right now is to have him do his best every day and we'll see."

Tides notes: : The Tides' nine-game winning streak was ended Saturday by Durham. Norfolk's club record is 10, set in 1969. ... Right-handed pitcher David Hernandez picked up his first Triple-A win Thursday, allowing three earned runs in five innings. He has 23 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.

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