Reimold trying out to work out swing issues

Outfielder, batting .179, says problems are mechanical in nature

May 05, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK — — Struggling outfielder Nolan Reimold took extra batting practice before Tuesday night's game, his latest attempt to try to correct mechanical issues with his swing.

Reimold, who wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday night with right-hander A.J. Burnett pitching for the New York Yankees, entered Tuesday hitting just .179 with one homer and eight RBIs. He went 1-for-4 with a double Monday, but he was coming off a homestand in which he went just 2-for-14 with two walks.

"It hasn't been very fun, that's for sure," Reimold said. "I have an idea of what I'm doing. I'm just trying to work it out. I'll be all right. It's mechanical more than anything. I'm just not hitting the ball. I'm pulling off it a little bit, and pitchers are staying away. It's not a good combo."

Reimold had left Achilles tendon surgery in late September, and Orioles manager Dave Trembley brought him along slowly this spring. He didn't start playing in back-to-back games until late in the Grapefruit League season.

But Reimold says he's feeling better physically, and he wouldn't use his offseason surgery and slow spring as an excuse for his early struggles. He said his surgically repaired Achilles can be a factor in the field but not at the plate, and that was true of last season as well, when he hit .279 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs in an encouraging rookie year.

"I'm not going to blame that," Reimold said. "That's just part of the game right now. I'm going to look and leave April behind me and have a good May and the rest of the year. I know there are a few things that I'm doing wrong with my swing. That's why I'm hitting early and doing extra work right now so I can work that out and bring that work into the game. It's one thing to do it in BP. It's another thing to do it in the game."

Trembley said he was encouraged after watching both Reimold and struggling designated hitter Luke Scott take early batting practice.

"I think whenever you fail to succeed or live up to the expectations you have for yourself, I think you press to try to get it all back," Trembley said of Reimold.

"He had a very good early hitting session today. He's close. He's better swinging the bat than he has been. He needs to get on track for the game and give himself a little breathing room. He's certainly a much, much better hitter than how he's started out. I'll get him in there [this] afternoon, and hopefully he has a big day and takes it into Minnesota with him."

Uehara on his way

After four scoreless rehabilitation appearances, reliever Koji Uehara is expected to be activated for the Twins series, which starts Thursday.

Trembley noted that Uehara's velocity was up during what likely was his last rehab appearance Monday for Triple-A Norfolk. Trembley wouldn't commit to Uehara's role, saying only that he'll pitch late in games.

"I don't know if it's going to be in the closer's role, but I'll put him in late in the game because he's going to be a late-inning reliever," Trembley said.

Trembley said he and Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail have discussed the corresponding roster move, but they haven't made a final decision.

One option is demoting Lou Montanez, who is just 4-for-31 (.129), to Norfolk, which would leave the Orioles with Reimold and Scott as their left-field options.

If they opt to send out a pitcher, Matt Albers, Cla Meredith and Alberto Castillo would likely be the ones considered. Meredith and Albers, however, have been pitching well, with Meredith turning in nine straight scoreless outings and Albers making five consecutive scoreless appearances.

Castillo, meanwhile, has given up a run in three straight outings.

Around the horn

Entering Tuesday night, Orioles starters had made 11 quality starts in 26 games. Last year, the Orioles' rotation didn't collect its 12th quality start until the 49th game, May 29. … Triple-A pitching prospect Jake Arrieta allowed two earned runs on five hits and five walks in Norfolk's victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday. Former Orioles utility man Robert Andino hit two homers in the game. Double-A pitching prospect Zach Britton pitched five scoreless innings for Bowie before he was removed from the game after getting hit with a come-backer. Director of player development John Stockstill said Britton was removed for precautionary reasons and he expects him to make his next start. … As expected, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that the Orioles will pick third overall in the 2010 first-year player draft, held June7-9. The Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates have the first two picks. … The Single-A Frederick Keys placed catcher Wally Crancer on the voluntarily retired list.

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