PHILADELPHIA - -Rookie left fielder Nolan Reimold spent the first couple of weeks after his mid-May promotion impressing the Orioles with his power. Lately, he has opened some eyes with his patience.
Reimold, who was often questioned in the minor leagues for his pitch selection, had drawn walks in seven straight games entering Friday night's series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. During that span, he struck out only once.
"He has had some of the most impressive at-bats that we've taken as a team all year, and under some really difficult circumstances," said Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. "He's really come here and been patient, like he's been playing in the league for 10 years."
Reimold drew a key walk against All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez and then scored the winning run in the ninth inning of Thursday's comeback victory over the New York Mets. Reimold has 14 walks and 17 strikeouts heading into Friday.
"I'm definitely not chasing as many pitches as I did early on in my career," Reimold said. "It's not like I'm going up there looking for a walk, but I think that's just something that has naturally developed, I guess."
Reimold currently leads American League rookies in batting average (.283), homers (7), RBIs (16), on-base percentage (.372) and slugging percentage (.525). Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Reimold's patience has been the most pleasant surprise.
"Most [scouting] reports on Nolan are of the nature of a guy that has a high ceiling as far as hitting for power, not a high on-base percentage guy, not a high average guy," Trembley said. "For me, those have probably been the two areas that he's improved the most on, getting on base and hitting for a consistent average."
Because he loses the designated hitter in National League ballparks - where the Orioles will play the next six games - Trembley will be forced to make some tough decisions with his lineup. On Friday, he sat Luke Scott and started Reimold in left field.
"The lineup [today] will be different and the lineup on Sunday will be different," Trembley said. "I'll try to mix and match the best I can. I would expect Luke will be out in left field [today]. Everybody is going to play, everybody will get an opportunity to start."
Getting his shot
Brandon Snyder, the organization's top pick in 2005 who has been promoted to Triple-A Norfolk, is expected to play every day at either first base or designated hitter starting Friday. A high school catcher drafted with the 13th overall pick, Snyder was forced from behind the plate because of shoulder injuries. Now he could end up as the Orioles' first baseman of the future.
"He has worked his tail off" defensively, said David Stockstill, the organization's development director. "He has gotten so much more confidence at first base and as a player, and it's really shown, too, in how he has swung the bat."
Snyder, 22, hit .343 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs in 58 games with the Baysox.
Around the horn
Double-A left-hander Wilfrido Perez (elbow soreness) will throw to hitters Saturday with the hopes of being activated by the Baysox on Tuesday. Pitching prospect Brandon Erbe (shoulder fatigue) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with one inning pitched today at Single-A short-season Aberdeen, which began its season Friday. ... Two Towson University seniors, shortstop Gary Helmick (Northeast) and catcher Jason Stifler (North Harford), have signed and reported to their minor league affiliates. Helmick will play for Rookie-level Bluefield, and Stifler will join Aberdeen.
Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.