SARASOTA, Fla. - As he waits for the Orioles to officially place him on the 15-day disabled list, outfielder Nolan Reimold wants to stress again that he hasn’t suffered a new injury to his neck. He hasn’t experienced any setbacks.
His recovery from corrective surgery in July to fuse two vertebrae in his neck has enabled him to swing the bat without discomfort. The issue is playing the outfield and looking up while running after fly balls.
“I don’t have a problem swinging,” said Reimold, who was 10-for-38 this spring and had a hit Tuesday in his last game. “Obviously, I DHed and everything. It’s playing the field early on. Got pretty uncomfortable. But where I’m at right now, I’ve progressed very well and I’m far ahead of schedule for anybody who’s had this kind of surgery before. But it’s not side to side. It’s more like extension and the constant grind and pounding that a baseball season would take on you.
“What we do is make sure I can play the field every day before I come back, just to make sure it’s OK. I have to be certain that I can play.
“I think Buck stressed it’s not a new injury. I didn’t do anything to it. It’s just getting 100 percent from the surgery, the second neck surgey. Just want to make sure that I am 100 pecent before I go out there and play again.”
Reimold was braced for the criticism coming from fans once news broke yesterday that he’d return to the DL.
“I’m more tired about talking about it than anybody. I’m ready for these neck issues to be over and done with,” he said.
“If I look at it from where I’m at right now, I’ve progressed a lot from the beginning of spring training to now. So, I will keep progressing and I’ll be 100 percent in the near future.”
Reimold, limited to 56 games the last two seasons, said it was “kind of a mutual decision” to place him on the DL rather than include him on the 25-man roster on opening day.
“It’s best for me, best for the team,” he said. “I think it’s best for everybody. From my point of view, it’s important for me when I play to play well and to finish strong, rather than go out there and be in pain or uncomfortable early on. I think it’s the right decision from everyone’s point of view.”
A week ago, Reimold wasn’t sure whether he would be available on opening day.
“I know they’ve got (David) Lough and (Nelson) Cruz playing left and I’ve been DHing. We also have a bunch of guys who can DH, so I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but this is the best decision to make sure I am recovered,” he said.
“I think the last thing that comes (after surgery) is the extension, the running and the pounding you take from running around every day, day in and day out, that can take its toll until its 100 percent. It just takes a while for the muscles to adjust and get back to normal again.”