**The most impressive thing about 22-year-old outfielder Xavier Avery is the maturity and patience at the plate he has exhibited. It’s something I didn’t expect when he was recalled last week.

The perfect case in point was in the third inning Monday. He came up with the bases loaded in a 2-0 game – and most rookies would have been feeling the heat in that situation.

But Avery didn’t try to do too much. He took a called strike from Clay Buchholz, and then fouled one off. So the kid was down 0-2. He ended up working a nine-pitch walk that scored the Orioles’ first run.

Ten-year veterans sometimes get too anxious in an at-bat like that. So give the kid serious credit.

 ** Kevin Gregg finally snapped his scoreless outings streak at seven (9 1/3 innings) when he gave up two runs on Monday and was stuck with the loss. By looking at his line, I’m sure many of you thought, “Same old Gregg.”

But Gregg attacked the hitters Monday – the only walk he allowed was intentional. The big hit was a double by Dustin Pedroia down the right field line – a few more inches and it would have been foul. Otherwise, he gave up two singles.

And Buck Showalter made a point that he thought a couple calls didn’t go Gregg’s way. Bottom line is Gregg entered a tied game and got the loss because he gave up two runs. He didn’t get the job done. But I doubt he’s gonna suddenly revert to a guy who struggles every outing, either.

** Left fielder Nolan Reimold has a second epidural shot slated for later this week. This doesn’t come as a surprise. These shots usually come in three. And the bulging disk in his neck is still causing left thumb and forearm numbness and shoulder pain.

But the real concern is that the injection didn’t really help the first time and doctors aren’t optimistic it will help this time. What probably will be most beneficial for Reimold is rest and time. But for a guy who plays as hard as Reimold does and finally got another chance to prove himself, rest and time do not come naturally to him.

He couldn’t be more frustrated by the development, so while he’s resting, he’s hoping the second epidural shot does the trick. Mid-June is probably the best-case scenario for Reimold to return. This has been a tough time for Reimold, who really looked like he was ready to break out and have a great season.