ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Orioles manager Dave Trembley met with Nolan Reimold before Thursday's game to clear up confusion the young outfielder may have had about his role with the club.
Reimold, who established himself as the Orioles' regular left fielder last season but isn't close to 100 percent after having surgery on his left Achilles in September, didn't play in the season opener and started in the outfield Wednesday only because Felix Pie aggravated a shoulder injury. He was in the lineup in Thursday's series finale at designated hitter with Luke Scott getting the start in left field.
"I think he was confused when I told him that Pie would start the first two games in left field," Trembley said. "I think he thought he was the everyday left fielder based on the season he had last year and he lost it based on his performance in spring training. I said, "Nolan, it didn't matter if you went 20-for-20 or 0-for-20 this spring. That had nothing to do with it.'
"He's a great kid and he wants to play, but I hope he understands a little bit clearer that it's more related to him coming back from surgery than anything else. It has more to do with the injury. It has very little to do with how well he performed in spring training. This guy is in the early stages of just starting to get back to where he was. You still see him limping, you still see him dragging a little bit."
Trembley acknowledged that at least early in the season, he'd prefer not using Reimold at all in left field, but he knows that it's impossible with Scott entrenched as the team's DH. In Wednesday's 4-3 loss, Reimold just missed making two catches that he probably would have made if he was 100 percent healthy.
"I told him, 'I want your bat in the lineup. You help us win.' But I also don't want to cause problems where we set him back," Trembley said. "We had a very nice conversation. He's a young guy that's very important for our future, but at the start of the season, I don't think it's realistic for him to expect to play six or seven days a week. Plus I have Pie, whose shown significant improvement and deserves a chance to play. I only have nine spots. Even if [Reimold] was 100 percent, what do you do with Pie? You have to find a way to get them both in."
Jones holding his ground
Adam Jones made a terrific running catch in front of the left center-field wall on B.J. Upton's sixth-inning drive Wednesday, but it wasn't because the Orioles center fielder was playing any deeper than usual.
The Orioles have asked the Gold Glove outfielder, who normally plays a shallow center field, to consider playing a little bit deeper this season to cut down on the number of extra-base hits over his head. Jones is experimenting in batting practice with new ways of positioning himself, but he's yet to carry it over into the games.
"I really haven't moved all that much," Jones said. "I've tried it in BP and it feels like I'm so far from everything. Some of the hitters I'm respecting more and taking a couple of steps back, like with Upton, [Evan] Longoria and [Carlos] Pena. Obviously, you have to respect their power and move back a little bit. But they're letting me play the way I play. If there is a situation I need to move back, then I will."
Reliever Jim Johnson, who was unavailable Wednesday because of inflammation in his right elbow, played catch before Thursday's game and told Trembley that he was available for the series finale if needed.
"It's just like a muscle strain," Johnson said. "It's nothing with the ligament or anything like that. We're good."
Left fielder Felix Pie (left rotator cuff strain) was held out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive day. He said he felt much better and will try to play catch before Friday's home opener, but he still may be a day or two from returning to the lineup.
"It's tough on me, but I have to make my shoulder right," Pie said. "I don't want bad things to happen to me late in the season again."
Around the horn
The Orioles dropped to the 21st most valuable franchise in major league baseball at $376 million, according to Forbes magazine's annual rankings. The team was ranked 17th at $400 million in 2009. ... Trembley considering giving struggling and ailing leadoff man Brian Roberts the night off to make sure he is ready for Friday afternoon's home opener, but the second baseman told his manager that he felt good and wanted to play. ... Pitcher Koji Uehara (strained left hamstring) is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, though it's doubtful he'll be ready by then. ... Julio Lugo made his season debut Thursday night, starting at shortstop in place of Cesar Izturis. ... Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie celebrated his 31st birthday Thursday. ... Former Sun reporter Roch Kubatko, a blogger for masnsports.com, provided the color commentary on Thursday night's MASN game broadcast with Jim Palmer nursing a chest cold.