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Reimold trying to make most of opportunity with Orioles

It would be easy to call this a strange year for Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold. But his career trajectory has fluctuated so much over the years that 2015 has become just another crazy trip for the player who has been around the organization longer than any current Oriole.

This year, he initially accepted a minor-league contract, played well in Triple-A and was recalled by the Orioles in June. He had a brief stint on paternity leave in July, was designated for assignment, cleared waivers in August and was recalled to the majors in September.

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And, since his last promotion a week ago, he has started seven straight games in left field, including Sunday night against the Kansas City Royals. In those first six games, since Sept. 6, he's batted .333 (7 for 21) with two homers and seven RBIs.

"It's a great opportunity for me," said Reimold, whom the Orioles drafted in the second round in 2005. "I've been given opportunities in the past and I've appreciated it. I just want to show some consistency and finish out the year strong."

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Reimold's saga has been well-documented. He can hit, has a great eye and some power, but injuries — specifically, two neck surgeries — have curtailed what was once a promising career.

"I knew that coming in (to 2015) I hadn't played in pretty much two years and when I was up there (in 2013) I wasn't really there, physically, I guess you could say," said Reimold, who turns 32 next month. "As much as I wanted to show that I could still play, I just didn't get the job done out there. After coming back from all that, I knew that there probably would be some growing pains and in a way you'd have to develop yourself again."

In 54 games at Triple-A Norfolk this year, Reimold hit .274 with a .363 on-base percentage. To best use Reimold's ability to get on base — something the Orioles continually have struggled to do — manager Buck Showalter has used Reimold as the club's leadoff hitter the past five games.

"It means a lot. That's why I wanted to come back to Baltimore, because I feel like — even through everything — they knew what I could be capable of and what I could do," said Reimold, who walked five times in his previous six games before Sunday. "So I feel like it just shows a lot of faith from the coaches and staff to put me out there in the leadoff spot."

Showalter agrees that having such a long history with Reimold has worked in the Orioles' favor. He was with Toronto and Arizona last year, but returned to Baltimore when the opportunity arose.

"He's one of those guys I don't think you're gonna appreciate unless you really know him," Showalter said. "Clubs that take him off waivers for a week or 10 days, you're really not going to get to know what he's capable of bringing."

He's always brought a hustle and intensity on the field that complement his ability

"Nolan, I look at him as a lot younger because he hasn't really played much in the last two or three years. He's very hungry; he's very driven," Showalter said. "And nobody works harder at his trade than Nolan. But he's had to work a little smarter … He's worked very hard to get back here."

Reimold is hoping to make the most of his playing time this month and then he'll see what happens this offseason. All things considered, he wants to remain an Oriole. Since he doesn't yet qualify for free agency, he'd be eligible for arbitration one last time this winter if he is tendered a contract.

"I never feel a sense of security. You don't want to think about it too much, you don't want to be in panic mode. But you never want to be complacent," he said. "In my career, this is probably the most important time that I need to finish the year out on a high note."

Givens revels in Baysox title

With a 3-0 playoff win Saturday against the Altoona Curve, the Bowie Baysox captured the Eastern League Western Division title and advanced to the league's championship series, which starts Tuesday.

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It was the first division crown in the 23-year history of the Baysox, the Orioles' Double-A affiliate. At least one Oriole was particularly psyched for the players and manager Gary Kendall.

"I still talk to a lot of the guys on the pitching staff and some of the position players," said Orioles reliever Mychal Givens, who pitched in 35 games and collected 15 saves this year for Bowie. "It's been a real successful year for them, so I was really proud that they won it."

Givens, who was last recalled from Bowie on Aug, 10, said he still lives there. In August, on an Orioles' off day, Givens went to a Baysox game as a fan. So he's definitely watching how his old teammates do during this playoff run.

"There were good vibes there all year and so for them to win it all it will be a good, happy year for all of us," said Givens, who also pitched in Bowie in 2014. "I was happy to still be a part of that team and all the good things that happened this year."

Showalter impressed with Mendoza

Jessica Mendoza, who last month became the first female to serve as an in-game baseball analyst for ESPN, was in Baltimore as part of the network's Sunday Night Baseball game. Showalter met her for the first time and came away impressed.

In pure Showalter fashion, he also looked up her career statistics as a four-time All American outfielder for the Stanford University softball team. Mendoza was a career .416 hitter in 259 games in college. She had 70 doubles, 50 homers and 86 stolen bases.

"She's pretty impressive. Especially her stats," Showalter said about Mendoza. "It's like she's playing Wiffle ball. That's how good they are. She may be the best women's college outfielder ever. … Very impressive in the pregame meeting. She knows her stuff."

Around the horn

Recently acquired DH Andy Wilkins hit a two-run double in the top of the ninth inning to give the Triple-A Norfolk Tides a 6-5 win over the Columbus Clippers on Sunday in Game 4 of the first round of the International League playoffs. The deciding Game 5 will be held Monday in Columbus. ... The Orioles had initially planned to have a camp for minor leaguers who could be possibilities to join the club this month for a potential playoff push, if needed. But with Instructional League beginning this week in Sarasota, Fla., Showalter said he was uncertain whether that camp would still take place. Instead, the club may call up a couple more reinforcements from Triple-A Norfolk. Possibilities include pitcher Tyler Wilson, first baseman Christian Walker and outfielder Henry Urrutia. Showalter said he needed to talk with executive vice president Dan Duquette before final decisions would be made. … Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez will face Kevin Gausman Monday night in a game that features two of the top Orioles pitching prospects going into the 2014 season. Rodriguez was traded away last July.

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