SARASOTA, FLA. — When the Orioles parted ways with Nolan Reimold, reluctantly designating him for assignment in July, the outfielder didn't think he'd be back with the organization.
But Reimold, 31, is back in at the Ed Smith Stadium complex this spring, signed to a minor league deal and hoping to show he can remain healthy and be a contributor in the major leagues.
"It's a pleasant surprise for me," said Reimold, who was one of several position players who has arrived to camp early. "I never wanted to leave in the first place. So obviously, I'm happy to be back.
"I just think that this will be the best place for me, and I need to go out and show that I can stay healthy and play. I think it will all work out."
Reimold, who played just 56 games in 2012 and 2013 with multiple neck surgeries, opened last season on the disabled list and was designated for assignment after his minor league rehabilitation assignment ended. He had brief stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Arizona Diamondbacks before becoming a free agent at the end of the season.
Reimold said being familiar with the Orioles organization was a major reason he decided to return.
"I guess there's a lot of reasons that go into it, but I think the staff here, the management, everybody, I know them, I'm comfortable with them," Reimold said. "I think they really have the player's best interest at heart. For me, staying healthy, I'm a big fan and advocate of the strength program and things that have been done here, so I think that would be a big thing, too.
"It's just a place where I feel comfortable, and I feel a little sense of loyalty to the Orioles. If I'm going to have a career, this is where I want it to be."
Reimold was 4-for-12 in his first four games with the Blue Jays last season before he returned to the DL with a calf injury. After that, he never really gained any momentum.
Since his rookie season in 2009 ended with an Achilles tendon injury that required surgery, Reimold has never played more than 87 major league games in a season. He has been on the DL five times since the beginning of the 2012 season with neck, calf and hamstring injuries.
"I had a little success in Toronto in the beginning," Reimold said. "I don't want to say … but that calf injury really screwed things up for me because when I came back I didn't play very much.
"But I got out there. I got a taste of how other organizations [work], not that they're bad organizations. I felt, like every thought, I was DFA'd, I felt like I was wanted a lot more here. So hopefully things work out."
** The Orioles signed veteran catcher J.P. Arencibia on a minor league deal in part as an insurance policy in case starter Matt Wieters isn't ready to catch by Opening Day.
"Obviously, Matt's coming off an injury, so that's something for him," Arencibia said. "You can't go back in and catch 150 games, and so that was another thing that was of interest to me. In other situations, it could have been an easier path. One, I wanted to be able to go to one great team, and two, to a situation where I know I can help a team win, and this is a team that wins, and I know I can be an asset."
Arencibia, a career .207/.255/.403 hitter in parts of five major league seasons, spent 48 games at Triple-A Round Rock last year after he struggled early with the Texas Rangers, hitting just .133 in his first 20 games.
"Last season was a tough year but a great learning experience for me," Arencibia said. "The tail end of 2013, I had a tough second half. Then the beginning of 2014, I started off slow. So it was a good thing to be able to go down and reset, go down for a month. You kind of look at yourself in a mirror and you say, 'I was once MVP of this League. Why am I back in it?'
"It was something where I just kind of had to make adjustments and had to do things to further my career. I had too much ability to be where I was. It was a huge learning experience. I was able to get going, get back, have success. So then it was like something where I can still do damage, I can still help a team win."
Arencibia said his history with new Orioles hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, who was then the Rangers' Triple-A hitting coach and worked with Arencibia last season, played a role in him coming to the Orioles.
"Coolbaugh was another big part of my decision, he was with me for the month I was down," Arencibia said. "We had a good relationship. I figured that it was something that would be able to help me going into this season. … I think he does a real good job of seeing what clicks for that person and making you ultimately a better player."
** Among the new faces in camp is Chris Parmelee, another nonroster invitee who was signed on a minor league deal. Parmelee will compete for a roster spot as a corner outfielder and first baseman.
"They're a winning organization," Parmelee said about joining the Orioles. "They've been winning the last couple of years, and I want to be a part of that. I want to do everything I can to help this team out any way I can and whatever that may be, I'm up to the task and I'm looking forward to it."
Parmelee, once a top prospect with the Minnesota Twins who carried a career Triple-A split line of .295/.395/.530. He spent his entire career before this season in the Twins organization, including parts of the last four seasons at the major league level, so joining the Orioles involves adapting to a new atmosphere for the first time as a professional.
"It's kind of like going to a new school," he said. "You've been in one school your whole life and meeting new guys. My main thing is just to keep my mouth shut and try to make friends, just like you would in school. But these guys have come in with open arms, and I know some of them, so it makes it a lot easier transition."