Reimold, Gonzalez pass health test
Rehabbing O's outfielder, closer get work in Wednesday
JUPITER, Fla. -- Whether or not Orioles manager Dave Trembley wanted to admit it, Wednesday's game against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium was a good day for him to find out if closer Michael Gonzalez and left fielder Nolan Reimold are indeed healthy and on track for the start of the regular season.
Both proved just that.
Gonzalez -- nursing lower-back tightness since mid-March -- hurled a 23-pitch inning, and Reimold -- easing his way back after offseason surgery to his left Achilles tendon -- produced at the plate and played a smooth left field.
Reimold has only played a handful of games in the outfield this spring, and Trembley said before Tuesday's contest that he wanted to see how the young power hitter deals with back-to-back games. After serving as the designated hitter against the Marlins on Tuesday, Reimold went 2-for-4 with an RBI as the left fielder on Wednesday.
And after starting Grapefruit League play on a nightmarish 0-for-22 skid, the 26-year-old has hit safely in his past three games.
"He's still not swinging the bat the way he's capable of swinging it," Trembley said. "He's better, but some of those pitches, with a few more at-bats, he'll hit them. He'll square them up a whole lot better. He's better, but he's not 100 percent yet. He hasn't had enough at-bats.
"He's swinging it better, he's moving better. I'm glad he got a chance to run the bases today. But he's not 100 percent. I don't mean physically. I mean his timing is not there yet."
Gonzalez recorded two outs in a "B" game on March 14 before exiting with lower-back tightness. Then after a side session and a one-inning stint in a Triple-A game, the 31-year-old left-hander hurled a scoreless seventh inning on Sunday against the Phillies.
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On Wednesday, Gonzalez gave up a hit, a walk and a run in the eighth inning. But he said Spring Training isn't about results for him.
"I'm satisfied with what I went out and did," Gonzalez said. "I'm not talking about the outcome of the game, I'm talking about just the way my body felt.
"I'm on my own timetable. I've done this a few times -- not my first rodeo -- so I'm just going to take my time. I've got about four more outings, maybe even five, and just get ready for the sixth [of April]."
Gonzalez said he still doesn't feel 100 percent, but added: "I'm taking steps forward."
And before the start of the season, he'd like to go back-to-back days and also get a two-inning outing, which would likely come next week.
Signed to a two-year, $12 million contract this offseason, Gonzalez's spring hasn't gone as planned. There have been reports about a drop in velocity, there's been back problems, and there's a 4.50 ERA through four Grapefruit League innings.
But the Texas product said he feels good and on track for the season. Frankly, that's all that matters at this point.
"Obviously, some people tend to take a lot of things on results and what you do in Spring Training, but I'm not trying to make the team here," Gonzalez said. "I'm trying to get ready for April 6 and Opening Day and putting it on the Rays. That's what I'm trying to do."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.