BALTIMORE -- Nolan Reimold may be hitting hundreds of miles away from Camden Yards, but he can be content in knowing that the team's decision-makers have noticed his hot start. Reimold, who hit two home runs Sunday, is batting .417 through his first 16 games at Triple-A Norfolk and quickly making a name for himself.
The Orioles said early in Spring Training that they wanted to use the year to evaluate Felix Pie, a former top prospect who was acquired by Baltimore this winter. But Pie has batted .167 in April and has also had trouble making a rapid adjustment to left field, which begins to put Reimold's success in a more flattering light.
Manager Dave Trembley acknowledged that Monday, even as he tried to keep things in perspective.
"He ended Spring Training on a real upswing," Trembley said of Reimold. "I talked to our scouts about him. He's off to a real nice start and I hope it continues, because he's a guy that we all feel can help us. When that is, I'm not sure. I know he is probably a lot further along than we all anticipated at this particular point in time."
Reimold, a former second-round Draft pick, batted .284 with 25 home runs for Double-A Bowie last season and has already hit six home runs for Norfolk this year. The Orioles want to see what Reimold can do with a half-season at Norfolk, but if they determine he's ready, he'll likely come up to play on a regular basis.
Trembley also acknowledged that notion on Monday, even as he tried to distance himself from the thought.
"He's not here yet," said Trembley of Reimold. "If he came here, I would think the opportunity would be for him to play, not be a reserve. But that's something I haven't thought about."
The Orioles had an opportunity to promote Reimold last week, right after veteran reserve Ryan Freel was moved to the 15-day disabled list. But instead of tabbing Reimold, the Orioles recalled Lou Montanez, who played well with Baltimore last September and will likely head back to Norfolk whenever Freel returns.
If Pie continues to struggle, the Orioles may have no choice but to begin considering Reimold and Montanez all over again. And if that comes to pass, Trembley wants the prospect to force the team's hand.
"Those kind of moves get made when those guys tell you they're ready," Trembley said. "I also think there has to be a need. Whatever the need is, there has to be a need. Hopefully, it's not because somebody gets hurt."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.