As Baltimore’s roster stands right now, there’s a bit of a redundancy at left field and DH. Manager Dave Trembley said Monday that it’s a nice problem to have, and he downplayed the possibility of solving the problem by playing Nolan Reimold or Luke Scott at first base.
Scott auditioned for the role in September, but Trembley said Monday that he’d much prefer to slot the veteran at either left field or designated hitter. The only problem there is the twin presence of Reimold and Felix Pie, who figure to split time next season.
“I think it’s a nice thing to be able to sort out, especially the way Pie played the second half of the season,” he said. “Unfortunately, he got to play a lot because [Adam] Jones was hurt. But I know there is a lot of interest in Pie [and] you’ve got to like what Reimold did. You still have Luke Scott. I think as we get closer towards Spring Training, it will all sort itself out.”
Pie represents the best defender out of the three, as well as the player with the highest upside. The Orioles will likely allow him to take the lion’s share of at-bats in left, and Trembley said that he doesn’t want to try to convert Reimold to first base in Spring Training.
“I’m not totally against it,” he said. “I just don’t know how practical that is in a short period of time in Spring Training, teaching a guy to play first base at the Major League level who has never done it before. I think in a perfect situation, it probably would’ve been better — if he had been healthy — maybe we could have sent him to Instructional League or Winter Ball. …I’m sure that’s probably going to be discussed in the next day or so about Reimold.”
— Spencer Fordin
The Topps baseball card company gave fans an interesting conversation starter on Wednesday, when it named its All-Rookie Team for 2009. And while many of the selections were noteworthy, there also seemed to be at least one glaring omission.
Matt Wieters, one of the most highly rated rookies in recent seasons, was left off the team in favor of former Baltimore farmhand Omir Santos despite having a marked edge in batting average (.288 and .260), on-base percentage (.340 and .296) and slugging (.412 and .390).
The Orioles did see Nolan Reimold named to the team, a selection that recognized the team’s year-long youth movement. Reimold led all American League rookies in home runs (15), on-base percentage (.365) and slugging (.466) when his season was cut short by injury.
— Spencer Fordin
Baltimore’s outfield will suffer a loss due to attrition at some point next week, when reserve Lou Montanez will likely opt for a corrective surgery to repair a thumb injury. Montanez could miss a few months, changing the substitution pattern in Baltimore’s outfield.
Manager Dave Trembley said that Montanez could play as a reserve in the next few days if he’s needed, and he also said he expects Luke Scott to return at some point next week. At this point, Trembley just wants Montanez to heal as quickly as possible.
“He has a partial tear in the thumb area,” said Trembley. “He’s going to opt to get it taken care of, and he has our full support there. He’s going to get it done sometime next week.”
Montanez, who won the Triple Crown in the Double-A Eastern League last year, was called up late in the ’08 season and hit a home run in his first career at-bat. He hasn’t had as much success this season, batting just .204 with six RBIs in his first 18 games.
Baltimore will likely play rookie Nolan Reimold in left field for the foreseeable future, but Felix Pie and Scott will also get their share of playing time out in the outfield.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Orioles are close to trading Ryan Freel to the Cubs for Joey Gathright, and Baltimore didn’t do anything to dispel the rumors Friday afternoon. Manager Dave Trembley was asked about Freel’s status during his pre-game media briefing and deferred comment to Andy MacPhail, the team’s president of baseball operations.
“I believe there will be some kind of statement coming about Ryan Freel,” he said. “I’ll let Andy MacPhail take care of it.”
Freel, who was acquired from Cincinnati in the offseason as part of a deal for Ramon Hernandez, has struggled to find playing time in his first month with the Orioles. The veteran reserve was hit in the head by an errant pickoff throw two weeks ago in Boston and has been on the disabled list ever since. If he’s dealt, he may open up a roster spot for the Orioles.
And in that case, reserve outfielder Lou Montanez would be a strong candidate to stick with the team long-term. Gathright would likely fill in at Triple-A Norfolk and prospect Nolan Reimold, who is off to a hot start, would likely be the next callup among outfielders.