After health scare, O’Day is back and pitching well out of O’s ‘pen

Darren O’Day is a pitcher with peace of mind these days. He’s not happy the Orioles won’t be in the playoffs, but he is very happy that the medical issue he was dealing with recently got resolved.

O’Day pitched just twice between Aug. 28 and Sept. 19 as he was dealing with some issues in the index and middle fingers on his right hand. For a time, he was concerned this could be something serious possibly requiring surgery. But that did not turn out to be the case and a relieved O’Day returned to the O’s bullpen.

During a live video chat earlier this week here at, O’Day talked about an uncertain few weeks for him.

“I got carpal tunnel syndrome,” he said. “There is a little narrow tunnel that runs through your wrist and, if the tendon starts taking up too much space due to overuse, then it compresses the nerve and you start getting tingling and pain sensations in your first two fingers.

“It wouldn’t matter that much, but these are the two fingers I make the ball move with. When I can’t feel the ball, that makes it hard to pitch.”

He underwent several tests to rule out the most serious problems and eventually cortisone injections resolved it and led him back to the mound, where he is 5-3 this year with a 2.18 ERA and .210 average against.

But for a while, he was uncertain about both his immediate and long-range pitching future.

“Our livelihood is our body, so it is scary anytime you get something going on like that,” he said. “We didn’t know what it was. There was some worry that it could have been something like Thoracic outlet (syndrome), a more serious problem that could require season-ending surgery. We had to test that first because it is the most serious and I guess you could say life threatening.”

O’Day said the pain and tingling in his fingers is no longer an issue and that the offseason will further resolve the problem.

He has returned to pitch and expects that he is pretty much back to normal, where he was before this all started. So he is relieved, happy and back getting outs for the Orioles.

“I feel good. I pitched five out of six days there when I came back, so, if it was going to go wrong it would have already gone wrong, so I think they hit the spot,” he said.

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