Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Britton, Reimold starting 2011 in AAA

Chin up, Nolan, you'll be back sooner than you know it.

Zach Britton was the O's best starting pitcher this spring.

It's bittersweet to see Nolan Reimold and Zach Britton sent to Norfolk to start the 2011 season.

For Reimold, he was squeezed off of the 25-man roster because Luke Scott became the starting LF when Vladimir Guerrero was signed. And even though Reimold outplayed Felix Pie this spring (.315 AVG, 3 HR, 10 RBI), Pie is out of options and the O's will likely give him a month or so to sink or swim. And while I like Pie, I don't believe he's ever going to put it together, so Nolan probably shouldn't have to wait long.

In the case of Britton, it was a smart business for the O's to keep him down for a couple weeks to gain an extra year of control over the 3-year-old lefty. It's a similar move to sending Matt Wieters to Norfolk in 2009 to start the year when he should have made the team. Britton should have made the team, too, allowing just 3 ER in 20 IP -- with two of those starts coming against the Yankees. He was arguably the best Oriole pitcher this spring. But this is the way the business goes and Zach, who was pretty peeved at not making the team, should understand that.

So while it pains me to see these guys start the year in the minors, it also gives the Orioles two bullets in the chamber should any problems arise. Chances are not everyone is going to make every start this year and Reimold and Britton will have their number called sooner than later.

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