The first official Spring Training workout for the Baltimore Orioles pitchers and catchers was yesterday, and although position players do not officially join the team for workouts until Saturday, several are already at camp. Today, in part three of our Orioles Spring Training Preview we will take a look at the outfield, and incase you missed our pitchers and catchers/role players previews, you can click on them to view, part one and part two.
First let's revisit the outfielders that have been invited to camp, both non-roster invitees and 40-man roster players.
Two of the outfield positions are obviously taken by Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, that goes without saying. There is a battle for the starting spot in left field however, and I believe it comes down to three guys, and maybe a fourth. Seemingly, heading into Spring Training it seems to be assumed that if healthy, Nolan Reimold will be on the big league roster, especially since he does not have any options left. Reimold, along with Nate McLouth, will be competing for the left field starting spot and if someone like a Conor Jackson or even a Lew Ford has a huge spring, you could possibly see one of those two guys break camp with Baltimore.
Although both Xavier Avery and L.J. Hoes had a cup of coffee with the big league club last year, both of these guys are highly anticipated to begin the year in Norfolk so they can get some consistent at bats and be ready to fill in if the injury bug were to hit the Orioles outfield.
Ultimately, and Buck Showalter would never say this out loud, I believe that if Reimold can stay healthy you will see him DH more than you will see him in left field in an effort to keep him healthy, especially coming off of a neck injury, I mean hey, there are walls in the outfield that he could run into. Thus McLouth is likely to see most of the time in left field, as long as he is performing, if Nate hits a terrible skid like he did in Pittsburgh or Atlanta, I could see a Jackson, Ford, Avery or Hoes being called up to the big league club.
In the end the four outfielders that I believe will be on the active 25-man roster on Opening Day will be Markakis, Jones, Reimold and McLouth, which really comes as no surprise, but again that assumes Reimold is healthy and if something were to happen to him (as it always seems to) it will be a fierce competition between Jackson, Ford, Avery and Hoes to try and impress Buck enough to get that spot.
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