09/06/09 7:29 PM ET
Wait well worth it for Fiorentino
Journeyman outfielder makes first start since 2006
By Sean Welsh / Special to MLB.com
On Sunday, the Orioles' second-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft made his first start since 2006 -- batting seventh and playing left field. Fiorentino went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored in Baltimore's 7-0 win over Texas.
It's been a long, winding road for Fiorentino, who spent time in Cincinnati and Oakland between stints with the Orioles organization. His September callup was based upon a strong campaign at Triple-A Norfolk.
Fiorentino hit .312 with 12 home runs and 67 RBIs in 365 at-bats with the Tides. He reached base at a .387 clip and went 13-of-19 in stolen-base attempts.
"You don't control the things you can't worry about," manager Dave Trembley said. "You go play and try to impress people and play your game. In the case of Fiorentino, he put together a nice season at Triple-A. We know him in the organization. He's a versatile guy who can play all three slots. He can run a little bit. He handles the bat. We'll do the best we can to try to get him some playing time."
In the first half of September, he should see significant time. With All-Star center fielder Adam Jones on the shelf with a sprained left ankle, Fiorentino is the primary backup at all three outfield spots. He'll also spell Felix Pie in center and Nolan Reimold in left.
Beyond September, Fiorentino's future is up in the air. Pie seems to have staked a claim on the fourth outfield role, and he will be pushed by Lou Montanez in Spring Training. Reimold has claimed left field with a strong rookie campaign, and Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis aren't going anywhere.
Under club president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, the Orioles have begun to stockpile talent in the outfield and on the mound. Fiorentino is simply another factor in a much deeper organization.
"I think you just keep playing," Trembley said. "I would say that Reimold has made the most of his opportunity, and it would appear that Pie is doing the same. We do have some youth in the outfield. You have Nicky, and Nicky is 25. He still hasn't reached his potential yet. Jones just turned 24. You've got Reimold, who's had a very good rookie season. But, as Andy says, it's inventory."
Sean Welsh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.