Left fielder Nolan Reimold is scheduled to undergo an epidural injection in his sore neck Friday morning, but it appears very doubtful that he’ll be ready to come off the disabled list as soon as he becomes eligible Wednesday.
Manager Buck Showalter said during his pre-game news briefing Thursday that Reimold would have had the epidural sooner but for the nagging flu virus that has been making its way through the Orioles clubhouse the past several weeks. He said Reimold’s epidural finally has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.
Reimold has been experiencing numbness in his left hand and shoulder weakness from a bulging disk in his neck. He has completed a program of steroid therapy and is dealing with the remaining discomfort with oral pain and anti-inflammatory medication. He’ll need some time to rebuild his strength and get some rehab at-bats, so it probably is not realistic to expect him back until late in the month.
Hammel back on Monday?
Right-hander Jason Hammel, who was originally scheduled to start on Thursday before he was scratched with knee soreness, is tentatively scheduled to start against the Yankees on Monday night at Camden Yards.
“He’s improving,’’ Showalter said. “He could have pitched today if he had to or if it was a different point in the season.”
Hammel also said that he is making good progress and thinks he is improving quickly enough to return for the Yankee series.
“I made good strides today,’’ he said. “When I woke up, it wasn’t good, but I came in and got some good treatment. I’m very confident about Monday.”
Somehow, Thursday's first game came down to a called third strike to Elvis Andrus with Josh Hamilton standing on deck, even though the Orioles were leading by four runs going into the top of the ninth inning.
Luis Ayala allowed the first two runners to reach base in the inning and Jim Johnson gave up a three-run home run to pinch-hitter David Murphy before retiring Ian Kinsler and Andrus to record his ninth save in nine opportunities in the Orioles' 6-5 win.
The runs – two charged to Ayala and one to Johnson – were the first runs either reliever has given up this season.
Something strange or wonderful happened in each of the Orioles' four games heading into the nightcap Thursday, starting with the 17-inning game in Boston that featured position players as the pitchers of record for both teams.
Monday night, one day after former Orioles No. 1 draft choice Darnell McDonald was the losing pitcher against them, another former Orioles No. 1 draft pick – Brandon Snyder – drove in six runs against his old teammates in the Rangers’ 14-3 victory.
Tuesday night featured the terrific four-homer performance by Hamilton in which he also set the American League record for total bases in a game with 18.
Thursday’s doubleheader opened with the Orioles' becoming the first team in AL history to open a game with three consecutive home runs and ended with Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis the only major league pitcher since 1918 to strike out at least 10 batters and give up as many as five homers in the same game.
Britton stretches out
Left-hander Zach Britton threw three innings (45 pitches) in an extended spring traininggame on Thursday morning and gave up just one hit and one walk. Showalter declined to say what the left-hander's fastball was clocked at but indicated that Britton is progressing well in his attempt to rehabilitate a pitching shoulder that has been inflamed since last summer.
“He’s had no setbacks,’’ Showalter said. “It’s been a pretty cautious schedule. I wouldn’t say overly cautious. We just want to make sure he’s right.”
Showalter said Britton needs to stretch out to about 90 pitches before he’ll head out for a rehab assignment. There’s no firm timetable for his return to the Orioles rotation, but Showalter said that would likely not happen before early June.
Chavez headed to DL
Outfielder Endy Chavez was placed on the disabled list to make room on the roster for the early return of starting pitcher Tommy Hunter, but the Orioles had to wait several hours for approval from Major League Baseball for the move early Thursday.
Chavez is suffering from an intercostal strain that he first noticed while taking batting practice in Anaheim, Calif., a couple of weeks ago. He has been playing with the injury but said yesterday that it hasn’t responded to treatment and he needs to rest it.
Lindstrom has painful outing
Reliever Matt Lindstrom became the third Orioles reliever to give up his first run(s) of the season on Thursday, allowing three runs (two earned) in the nightcap. He had a conversation in the dugout with head athletic trainer Richie Bancells after feeling a pop in the middle finger of his pitching hand throwing a pitch, but said afterward that it was not anything to be concerned about.
Around the horn
First baseman Chris Davis said Thursday that he will donate his cleats from Sunday’s historic pitching performance to the Sports Legends Museum and he is sending the beer-soaked hat from the 17-inning marathon to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown…Catcher Jason Exposito singled for his first major league hit in the fifth inning.
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