SARASOTA, Fla. - Outfielder Nolan Reimold just headed outdoors to do some hitting and play catch. He was cleared for “unrestricted” baseball activities over Christmas. Now he’s ready to resume a career that’s been stalled by injuries and rotten luck.
“I’m excited to feel like I can be good again,” he said. “Hopefully, everything works out and I can stay healthy and be productive. And if those things happen, it should be a good year.
“I’m pretty confident that it’s good enough to be cleared this time.”
Reimold underwent a second surgery on July 23 to fuse two vertebrae in his neck. He has the X-rays on his iPhone, which he shared with two reporters this morning.
“There’s a huge difference,” he said. “Between then and even when before in the middle of the season when I got shut down, when that was happening, it’s a big difference from that, too. That feels a lot better. I’m anxious to get out there and get going and start doing baseball stuff with it down here. We’ll see how it goes. It should be good.
“The nature of the injury just takes forever. It’s just really slow. The neck can be fine, but the symptoms, the arm and everything, takes forever to resolve itself. And the further you go along, the slower it goes. I think I’m pretty far along. It feels the best it has since this happened. There’s always room for improvement, but I shouldn’t have any problems.
“You can’t just take a handful of muscle and put it back on your shoulder. And that’s kind of what happened. In order to build that all back up, it takes a lot of time. But that being said, I feel good. I feel the best I have had in a long time in that regard.”
Reimold appeared in only 40 games, having spent almost two months on the disabled list with a small tear in his hamstring, and batted .195/.250/.336 with three doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs.
A pseudarthrosis, or false fusion, was causing irritation and compressing the nerve in Reimold’s neck. Dr. Robert Kowalski, a neurosurgeon who examined Reimold during the All-Star break, went in through the right side this time and replaced the old cadaver bone with a disc of Trabecular metal. Bone marrow from his hip was used for added benefit, and Reimold wore a bone stimulator on his neck to speed up the recovery time.
Regaining his health is only one of the battles. Reimold also must regain a spot on the 25-man roster after the Orioles traded for left fielder David Lough and signed Delmon Young to a minor league deal.
Young arrived at the Ed Smith Stadium complex this morning with former Rays catcher Shawn Riggans, his workout partner.
“Actually, I didn’t know they even signed Delmon until I got here,” Reimold said. “I don’t know when that happened. I really haven’t been looking. They signed a bunch of outfielders last year, too, and rightfully so. I’m not worrying about any of that.”
Pitcher T.J. McFarland continues to wear an elastic wrap on his right knee after tweaking it during workouts three or four weeks ago, but he had it examined yesterday and did some throwing. Nothing to worry about, he said.
“Everything’s good,” he said. “I saw the doctor and I’ve been cleared for everything. I just tweaked it training. Since I was coming out there anyway, they figured they’d go ahead and send me to a doctor to give me the once-over and make sure everything was good. No more doctors.”
Note: ESPN announced that it will televise two Sunday night Orioles games in the first half - April 20 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park and July 13 against the Yankees at Camden Yards.