As a member of the division rival Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, outfielder Nolan Reimold took a trip to the disabled list for what seemed like the millionth time in his six-year MLB career. This time, the issue was a strained calf. He was activated on July 27, 2014, and has been healthy ever since.
Reimold, who has missed time in the past with an Achilles injury and a herniated disc in his neck, among a flurry of other ailments, has a reputation in Baltimore as being highly injury-prone. While I would certainly agree with that notion in the past, it’s time to throw the idea that Reimold can’t stay healthy out the window.
To put things in perspective, here is a list of notable Orioles who have spent time on the disabled list more recently than Nolan Reimold:
Ubaldo Jimenez: Activated on 8/9/14 after missing nearly a month with a right ankle sprain, commonly known as “The Pothole Incident.”
Manny Machado: Missed the final two months of the 2014 season after requiring surgery on his right knee.
J.J. Hardy: Activated on 5/7/15 after missing the first month of the season with a shoulder strain. He returned to the DL on 8/24/15 with a groin strain and missed another two weeks. Hardy is back on the DL now with a fractured foot and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
Ryan Flaherty: Activated on 5/8/15 after missing two weeks with a groin strain.
Kevin Gausman: Missed almost two months in 2015 with right shoulder tendinitis. Spent another three weeks on the DL at the beginning of the 2016 season with a right shoulder strain.
Jonathan Schoop: Activated on 7/5/15 after missing nearly three months with a right knee sprain.
Steve Pearce: Activated on 8/24/15 after missing a month with an oblique strain.
Adam Jones: Never officially went on the disabled list, but missed 25 games in 2015 while battling shoulder issues. He has missed another four games this season with a rib injury.
That’s, like, pretty much everybody. I didn’t even mention some of the less important players who spent time on the DL with injuries but the list is pretty long. Reimold has been healthy for almost two full years now and it’s time for people to realize that.
I mentioned on my “Word on the Street” that having multiple corner outfielders contribute is a luxury we have lacked in recent years. Now, with Reimold, Mark Trumbo, Hyun Soo Kim, and Joey Rickard hitting well, Buck Showalter finds himself in a position where it’s tough to get the best nine hitters in the lineup on a daily basis.
The Legend of Joey Freakin’ Rickard was fun for a few weeks, but the Rule-5 outfielder has scuffled lately, hitting just 6-for-37 in his last ten games. Meanwhile, Kim and Reimold have been seeing the ball very well. Kim, though the sample size is small, has reached base in 11 of his 17 plate appearances. Reimold is slashing .343/.378/.686 in his 37 plate appearances and has homered three times. Despite the solid play of Kim and Reimold, we continue seeing Rickard get the majority of the playing time. Manager Buck Showalter has kept Rickard in the lead-off role, for some reason, which is where he’ll be tonight in the series opener against the New York Yankees, while Kim and Reimold ride the bench once again.
Lots of fans seem to be under the impression that Reimold can only hit left-handed pitching. The majority of his starts, especially this season, have come against lefties since regular DH Pedro Alvarez struggles against southpaws. The reality of the matter, however, is that the difference between LHP and RHP for Reimold is not very drastic. In fact, Reimold’s career OPS is just .001 higher against RHP than LHP. He also has a better home run rate against right-handed pitchers.
It’s time for Buck Showalter and the Orioles to realize that Nolan Reimold is a valuable asset to this team. He needs regular playing time to prove his worth. He is healthy, he is contributing, and he is important to the success of the Baltimore Orioles.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s #REIMTIME.