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Reimold hopeful first hit is turning point

Reimold hopeful first hit is turning point

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It was barely 8 a.m. ET on Sunday when Nolan Reimold and Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley began looking over film at the team's Spring Training complex in Sarasota. The footage -- sent down to Florida -- wasn't to pick up on a flaw, but rather to help Reimold get back to the basics.

"I just needed to see myself doing stuff right," Reimold said of the tapes, which were from his time in Triple-A last season. "It wasn't to give me an ego boost. I just needed to see what a good swing looked like again."

By all accounts, the early-morning session was a success. Reimold snapped an 0-for-22 skid in the fifth inning Sunday, connecting for his first hit this spring with a left-field single off the wall at the Phillies' Bright House Field. After striking out in his first at-bat, Reimold took Philadelphia starter Jamie Moyer to the warning track with a sacrifice fly in the third, before delivering the two-out single in the fifth.

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"I just got comfortable up there," said Reimold, who was hitless in his previous eight games entering Sunday.

"I was very relaxed and just trying to slow the game down. Moyer's a great pitcher, but it was good for me to see a guy that didn't throw very hard, just so I could relax up there, use my hands and get a feel for a good swing again."

Projected to be Baltimore's starting left fielder as part of a platoon with Felix Pie, Reimold has been slowed in camp as he recovers from left Achilles tendon surgery that shut him down prematurely last September. Reimold didn't appear in a Spring Training until March 6, and he has had well-documented issues running with the expected soreness and pain from the surgery.

Reimold's struggles at the plate have been no secret around the clubhouse either, with some of the players jokingly taking bets on the date Reimold would get a hit. To his credit, Reimold has been equally good-natured about the slump, even joking around duing pregame about finding a locker in the away clubhouse that wasn't previously occupied by someone else who was hitless.

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All kidding aside, Reimold seemed genuinely relieved to have the triple zeros lifted from his batting average.

"It felt good," he said. "[The past] is no concern, those at-bats are done."

Added Crowley: "Statistically, it will be hard for him to have a good spring, but somewhere we have to draw a line and just start getting hot. Hopefully, today was the day."

Crowley said there was "no question" that Reimold looked the best he has all spring at the plate Sunday and that the young outfielder's struggles weren't for lack of effort.

"We'd go on the back fields [at Ed Smith Stadium] and he'd hit great," Crowley said. "Sometimes when you aren't getting hits, you have a tendency to get a little jumpy [in the game]. He was getting jumpy with his stride."

In terms of adjustments, Crowley said the pair was looking for "something that was simple" and they found it in Sunday's videos. Reimold said he picked up on something from the Norfolk footage and that helped translate into Sunday's success.

In 31 Triple-A games last season, Reimold hit .394 with nine homers and 27 RBIs, posting a .743 slugging percentage. He made good use of his callup to Baltimore as well. In his first 104 Major League games, Reimold hit .279 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs.

"He's worked hard," Crowley said of Reimold, who has put in extra work in the cages as well. "There's been other days where I thought he was ready to bust out, but it didn't happen. Hitting can be a tricky thing sometimes."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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