Orioles notes: Shortened stride has helped Reimold step up

CHICAGO — Orioles left fielder and leadoff hitter Nolan Reimold attributes his recent offensive tear to making one small step forward.



Reimold, who entered Wednesday's game against the White Sox with home runs in each of his last four games, said he's made a small adjustment at the plate that is helping him see the ball better.

"I have been striding too far, and it was making my head move a little bit and I was pulling off," Reimold said. "So I've been working on having a smaller stride. That's been helping me stay over the ball and not pull off of it. It keeps your head more still, too. You can see the ball longer. When I'm going better, I'm going short. I'm trying to stick with this right now."

Reimold became the first Oriole to hit homers in four consecutive games since Luke Scott from May 27-30, 2009. Tuesday's two-RBI effort also marked the first time in Reimold's career that he's had three straight multi-RBI games.

He entered Wednesday's game 8-for-16 with two doubles, four homers, seven runs and seven RBIs on the team's road trip.

Reimold said having the opportunity to be the team's everyday left fielder has helped him relax at the plate.

"There's less pressure," he said. "You don't live and die with every at-bat. Makes you more relaxed, you could say. I look at it as I'm feeling good right now. We're winning games. I'm just looking to keep it going. I don't think I'm coming into my own or anything. I'm feeling good. I know what works for me, and I'm glad I'm helping the team win. We're winning some close games, and over the long haul, that's a big deal."

O'Day feeling healthy again

Almost lost in the Orioles' 3-2 win over the White Sox on Tuesday was the contribution the club received from right-handed Darren O'Day, who pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief of starter Wei-Yin Chen.

O'Day relieved Chen with runners at the corners and one out in the sixth and induced a pop up, then nabbed Alex Rios on a steal attempt to get out of the inning. O'Day also stranded a runner at third after Alejandro De Aza's two-out triple, getting Brent Morel to strike out swinging. It was O'Day's second outing of more than one inning.

O'Day said he's just beginning to feel fully recovered from hip surgery he had last April, which should allow the Orioles to use him in more multi-inning stints, a role he said he embraces.

"I feel much better," O'Day said. "I'm at about a year right now from my hip surgery. And that's when [the doctor] said it should start feeling 100 percent. Even from now to spring training, my hip feels better. He said about a year later I'd start to feel it better every day. It used to be that I'd have to spend every day trying to manage it every day. This year, I don't have to. It's pretty refreshing."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the club "did some homework" on O'Day's injury-plagued 2011 season — he spent 85 days on the DL — before claiming his off waivers from the Rangers in the offseason.

"That was the whole idea when we took him off waivers," Showalter said. "We did some homework on the physical stuff. And you never know, dealing with hips and knees and stuff, whether something may crop back up. But we felt that he had gotten a lot of it behind him. We all knew what Darren was capable of when he was healthy."

Markakis starts at DH


Nick Markakis, who entered Wednesdday's game in a 3-for-35 slump, received a day off from his right field position and started at designated hitter.

Showalter said the move wasn't because of Markakis' slump, but because he wants to move the DH spot around to keep the starters fresh.

"That's one of the great assets we have in not having [the DH spot] locked down ," Showalter said. "We have a couple people in mind tomorrow who could DH. It's one of the luxuries of having guys like Endy and Ryan [Flaherty] and Wilson [Betemit] that can play multiple positions and keep everybody healthy. I think its Nick's turn, and tomorrow it will be someone else."

Showalter said he's not concerned about the slumping Markakis.

"Nick's a tinkerer," he said. "He started off well and everybody here is going to go through periods where they're not as good as they're capable of being. If Nick's our biggest issue this year, we're in good shape. We all know the track record, and he'll figure it out."

Around the horn

Chen, who on Tuesday became the fourth Taiwanese-born pitcher to win a major league game, gave the game ball to his wife, Yi-Wen Tsai. He also called home and received congratulations from his parents. … Showalter said before Wednesday's game that Brian Roberts hadn't yet decided whether he'll remain with the Orioles on their trip to Anaheim, the final stop of their three-city, 10-game road trip. … Orioles LHP Tsuyoshi Wada will make his first Triple-A start Thursday afternoon against Gwinnett.

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