Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Orioles DHs struggle to begin season

BALTIMORE - In 2012, the Baltimore Orioles had no problem filling their designated hitter slot in the lineup. Chris Davis primarily played there, starting 60 games in the spot, during his 33-home run, 85-RBI season.

The Orioles also played Jim Thome, Mark Reynolds, Wilson Betemit, Lew Ford, Nick Johnson, Steve Tolleson, Bill Hall and Ronny Paulino there. Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters also DH'd on off days from the field.

One week into this season, Baltimore designated hitters have been less than formidable. In fact, the Orioles are getting the worst production at DH in the league so far.

Nolan Reimold, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty have gone a combined 1 for 22 through the first seven games, good for a .045 batting average. Baltimore is one of two teams, along with the Houston Astros, to not get a single RBI from a DH.

Reimold's single on Friday against the Twins is the lone hit by an Orioles DH. Reimold injured his right hamstring on Sunday, but should avoid the disabled list.

He said he doesn't mind playing DH because it has gotten him regular at-bats.

"A lot of times it's important to get out there consistently," Reimold said. "I do what I'm asked to do."

Reimold collected two hits on Opening Day as a left fielder against the Rays, but has gotten just two more since then. Pearce and Flaherty have done even worse.

Pearce is 0 for 10 and Flaherty is 0 for 14. The Orioles planned on having the option of playing Betemit at DH most days, but he tore a ligament in his knee late in spring training and was expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Baltimore seems to be missing the bat of Reynolds, who is now with Cleveland. Reynolds has four home runs and eight RBIs entering Tuesday night's game. He hit two home runs Sunday against Tampa Bay and a walk-off homer against the Blue Jays on April 3.

The Orioles also missed his glove at first base Saturday when Davis committed an error in the ninth inning that allowed the game-winning run to get on base and eventually score.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said he is confident the pieces will start to come together, however, and it will be with Davis at first.

"Chris knows how we feel about him," Showalter said. "He's done a great job at first base for us since the first day in spring, and he'll be an asset for us there just like he's been offensively."