TORONTO – Even though he has been with the Blue Jays for nearly a month, former Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold is still getting adjusted to playing for a new team.
Tuesday marked his first home game with Toronto, so he was still getting used to his new locker and a new clubhouse. After spending his entire career in the Orioles organization, the Blue Jays claimed Reimold off waivers July 6.
“I’m happy to be on a team and be able to go out and play baseball like I know I can,” Reimold said. “It’s always weird when you face guys you know, so it will be a little different, but you’ve got to focus up and get the job done.”
Reimold wasn’t in the starting lineup Tuesday, but he has played well with the Blue Jays, hitting .304 with two homers and six RBIs in eight games through Monday.
Reimold missed 11 games with a left calf strain that forced him onto the 15-day disabled list four games into his Blue Jays career. He is 3-for-11 in four games since returning from the DL, including a two-homer game Thursday in Houston.
“It’s been good. I got picked up to a good team and a good situation for me,” Reimold said. “I’m happy to be here, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to play and squeeze myself in there and play baseball again.”
The Orioles couldn’t find a 25-man roster spot for Reimold — who started the season on the DL after playing in just 56 games over the past two seasons because of multiple season-ending neck surgeries — after he had exhausted his minor league rehab assignment window.
The organization wanted to keep Reimold, but it had no room for an additional right-handed outfielder-designated hitter with Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce and Delmon Young already on the roster.
Reimold said he feels healthy again and has been comfortable and pain free at the plate. The biggest challenge has been working through inconsistent playing time after being on the DL.
“I’m happy for Nolan,” Showalter said. “I think that’s the common theme we all have. It’s been a tough path for him and, because of the way we were constructed, there wasn’t any room. I’m glad that he’s with a major league club — he should be — with a good team that has a need for what he brings. All clubs have one. It’s a good pick up for them.”
“We knew it. I was hoping he would go to the National League or something, but I knew he had a good reputation in the league and in the division, and it doesn’t surprise me.”
The Orioles tried to pass Reimold through waivers, but were unsuccessful.
“I wish baseball rules would have allowed us [to keep him],” Showalter said. “But in fairness to him, he had played long enough and done certain things to be able to pick and choose and that’s the way it should work. I think we’re all happy for him, and we all have a lot of respect for him and some of the challenges along the way to get back to where he is.
“If you don’t feel pretty good about that, you’re pretty cold.”