The date is May 27th, 2009.
A rookie outfielder called up two weeks ago, steps into the box; a pinch hitter, it’s the bottom of the 11th, runners at the corners, down one run, and with one out.
He takes the first two pitches, a strike and a ball, then he swings. A fly ball that carries over the left field wall, winning the game and you could have sworn you saw something special. He was shutdown later that season with an injury and that is the ballad of Nolan Reimold.
Reimold has been shut down this year, again. The fusion in his neck he had last year failed, cleared to play too early and will need corrective surgery, per his wife. Reimold, a career .252 average with 41 home runs, never completed a full Major League season in his five seasons with the O’s.
He showed much promise coming up in 2009, hitting 5 home runs in his first 14 games. Then, last year, hitting .313 with 5 home runs in 16 games, looking like he put it together again after two short, mediocre seasons, only to fall to injury again.
This year, he played in 31 games and hit a measly .188 before being sidelined by a hamstring issue, then making a comeback recently, only to head back to the DL and ending his season because of issues with his neck again.
I believe Reimold’s time with the O’s is all but over. With the resurgence of Nate McLouth, Cuban hitters Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez, and the minor league talent of Xavier Avery and L.J. Hoes, Reimold will have stiff competition coming into next year’s Spring Training, as a 30 year old, coming off injury.
Reimold showed flashes of what he once was, a somewhat speedy, power hitting corner outfielder but had no consistency and no patience at the plate, recording 41 strikeouts in 40 games.
At best right now, Reimold is backup outfielder/lefty DH, and the O’s already have that and he has no options. I feel Reimold will be gone next year because the O’s will try and send him down and he’ll be claimed off waivers, a “project player”, he’ll be called. Whatever happens to “The Judge”, we’ll always remember what could have been.
Guest Post by Cody Colston. You can follow him at @The_OtherCody.