NEW YORK — Adam Jones' injury shined a spotlight on reserve outfielder Nolan Reimold on Friday, and could get him more in the fold going forward.
Reimold, in the midst of a three-month slump that has seen his average fall to .225 with a .669 OPS on the season, said he's ready to assume a larger role down the stretch for the Orioles.
"I'm just trying to stay ready whether I'm in there or not," Reimold said. "Last year, he hurt his shoulder and I actually finished the year pretty strong. I know my role. If he's out, then I'll step in and be ready. But he's a pretty durable guy. I'm sure he'll be back pretty soon."
If not, Reimold hopes to benefit from more regular at-bats than he has received recently as a platoon player who only faces left-handers.
"Obviously, you talk to anybody that plays, regular at-bats, you feel comfortable, you start getting locked in," he said. "But that's just the way it is with not being an everyday guy. You've just got to get the job done somehow."
The season started well for Reimold, who carried a scalding spring training into April and May. He entered June batting .300 with four home runs and an .870 OPS despite making just 22 starts in 50 games.
He has quieted significantly since, even as the outfield has become thinner. Joey Rickard has been out more than a month with a torn thumb ligament, and the Orioles have played an outfielder short for most of that time, but Reimold isn't playing as much and isn't hitting well when he is.
In 54 games (26 starts) since June 1, Reimold is batting .163 with one home run.
Julio Borbon started over him in part for defensive reasons Saturday, with Reimold's first foray into center field in a long time beginning poorly. He was charged with an error on a sinking line drive to left-center that hit off his glove in the Yankees' six-run second inning.
"It's different, but it's something that I should be able to do," he said of the center field assignment in Jones' absence. "It's short notice, but I've got to get in there and get the job done. … It was kind of one of those where I was like running in, didn't know if I was going to dive or not, and kind of just chopped my steps and it hit my glove and missed it. It wasn't a very good play for me."
Around the horn: The Orioles allowed back-to-back 18-hit games for the first time since August 11-12, 1993 against the Detroit Tigers. … High-A Frederick infielder Aderlin Rodriguez was named to the Carolina League's postseason All-Star team. He has been the Keys' best hitter all season, batting .303 with 23 home runs and 85 RBIs. … With three home runs Saturday, the Orioles have 202 on the season, marking their fifth straight year with at least 200 homers.