Call-up is redemption for Reimold, dream come true for Snyder


Outfielder returns to big league club after nightmare season; infielder thrilled to join team he grew up watching

September 01, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

Outfielder Nolan Reimold waited nearly 3 1/2 months to return to Camden Yards and try to salvage what remained of a nightmare season. Infielder Brandon Snyder's wait had been far longer.

On the day rosters were eligible to expand, Reimold and Snyder were promoted to the big leagues Wednesday along with utility infielder Robert Andino.

Reimold, who established himself as the Orioles' everyday left fielder during a strong rookie season last year, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on May 12 after hitting just .205 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 29 big league games this season.

His struggles continued at Norfolk until he finally got hot in August, batting .320 with six doubles and two homers. In 94 games for the Tides, Reimold batted .249 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs.

"It was just kind of a downward spiral," Reimold, 26, said. "Things just kept getting worse and worse until finally I got to that point where I had to snap out of it, turn things around, start playing a lot better and finish the year a lot stronger than I started it. Â If you look at my overall numbers, they are not very good, but as of late, I've been swinging it better. They are giving me a shot, and I'm happy to be here."

Snyder, the Orioles' first-round draft pick in 2005, grew up in Virginia and attended Orioles games as a kid. But he acknowledged that it was an "awfully good surprise" when Tides manager Bobby Dickerson informed him Wednesday night that he was headed to the big leagues for the first time in his career.

Snyder, 23, hit .257 with nine homers and 43 RBIs in 98 games for Norfolk during a season in which he missed nearly a month with a back injury.

"Honestly, from probably about the last three or four weeks to a month, I just put it completely out of my mind," he said. "This has been the most roller-coaster season I've ever been through, with injuries and playing well and not playing well. So I just decided I wasn't even going to think about it, and it was an awfully good surprise.

"It's so surreal. Ever since I was 5 years old, [I was] coming up with my grandfather [and] watching games driving down [Interstate] 95. I come here every offseason to work out. It doesn't seem like I'm actually here, you know. I feel like I'm in the offseason here just to do a workout. It's extremely special, especially being drafted by the Orioles, a hometown guy, if you will. It's an awesome, awesome moment."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter wouldn't commit to how he would use Reimold, Snyder or Andino, saying that ultimately he'll use the lineup that gives the Orioles the best chance to win. Reimold started at designated hitter in Wednesday night's game against Boston Red Sox ace left-hander Jon Lester and went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly.

"We'll get some looks at [Reimold] here and there, but there's an integrity, too -- not that Nolan can't help us with that," Showalter said. "Tampa, Boston, New York, people are playing. But the tiebreaker is always going to be what's best for the Baltimore Orioles. We're going to try to win all our ballgames. But we'll get some looks along the way. I wouldn't expect it to be part the waters and some guy plays for two weeks straight. We're also evaluating the people that are here and trying to win a baseball game."

That's just fine for Reimold, who acknowledges that he has plenty to prove.

Reimold said he went back to the basics to snap out of his slump, and that included working with former Orioles star and current MASN broadcaster Brady Anderson.

Asked whether this has been the most difficult year of his career, Reimold said: "Difficult, yeah, of course. And disappointing. You could certainly say that. But I'm glad that I turned things around and that I'm getting the opportunity to be back up here. I'm looking to make the most of it. I don't think I'm the player that I was earlier this year. I think how I played as of late, and last year, is more indicative of the type of player that I am. I'm just looking to get up here and show that I can  play again."

Who is next?

The Orioles will add three or four more pitchers to their roster in the coming days, a group that will include Chris Tillman and David Hernandez. Tillman, who threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings for Norfolk on Tuesday, remains on schedule to start one more game for the Tides on Sunday. Then Tillman will rejoin the Orioles, who will likely go with a six-man rotation for the final couple of weeks of the season.

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