Injured Orioles left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada is still holding out hope for better news, but one of the team's biggest offseason investments might need Tommy John surgery to repair his left elbow, he said before Thursday's game.
Wada has already seen Orioles team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens but is planning to fly to Los Angeles this weekend to see Dr. Lewis Yocum for a second opinion on his elbow.
"[My] elbow is feeling better compared to last time I pitched, but the results of the MRI was not so good as I thought it would be," Wada said through interpreter Seob Yoon. "So I'm going to get a second opinion, see [what] that doctor's going to say, and I want to figure things out after that."
Yocum performed the official physical on Wada before he signed a two-year, $8.14 million contract in the offseason and also removed bone chips from the same elbow in 2007.
Wada was shelved early in spring training with elbow discomfort and began the season on the disabled list, staying in extended spring training to work on elevating his pitch count.
Two days after his first rehabilitation start for Triple-A Norfolk, he was shut down again and brought to Baltimore to see team doctors.
Wada said one option is to have an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction procedure, commonly known as Tommy John surgery, which would end his 2012 season before it began.
"Dr. Wilckens said that I could have the surgery or I could not have the surgery and rehab it just without it, and I'm not really sure what I'm going to do," Wada said. "That's why [I'm] going to get a second opinion first and then see how things go from there.
"If it's going to be a surgery, it's probably going to be Tommy John."
Once Wada returns from California, he will meet with manager Buck Showalter and team doctors to decide his next step.
"It is a little bit frustrating, but it already happened," Wada said. "[I] cannot do anything about it, [I have] to move on from here. So all [I'm] thinking about now is to be able to pitch 100 percent with a healthy body and come back and help the team out."
J. Johnson recovering
Closer Jim Johnson remained hospitalized Thursday night recovering from flu symptoms and a bacterial infection, but Showalter was optimistic Johnson could leave the hospital by Friday morning.
"He is not a happy man, but we got some good news," Showalter said of Johnson, who spent his third night in the hospital. "It looks like that's heading in a good direction. We feel a lot differently about it today than we did yesterday. They said if he can hold the food down that he's going to be eating here shortly, they might be able to release him in the morning. That would be real good, probably for the nurses who have to take care of him, too."
Showalter was uncertain whether Johnson would be able to contribute right away or would need additional recovery time before pitching.
"I don't know yet," Showalter said. "I tell you, by the way he sounded on the phone, you couldn't tell if he was real sickly or if he was ticked off. I think it was more the latter. When you're young and your body's not responding the way you want, I guess [it's tough]. I'm at an age, I'm just happy it's responding at all. I don't know. I know what my gut is on it. We certainly won't push it, but I think we'll be able to tell. He's always been pretty honest with us. He knows what's he's got to be able to do to do it at a level we need it done at. We'll see."
Johnson, who is tied for the American League lead with seven saves despite not having pitched since Sunday, had converted 15 straight save opportunities dating to last season.
Left fielder Nolan Reimold made his first start since Friday after missing the past four games with neck spasms.
When Reimold has been in the lineup, he has been on a tear offensively. He entered Thursday's game hitting .370 with a .383 on-base percentage, .783 slugging percentage, five homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games this season. His fifth-inning single Thursday extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and he also hit homers in four consecutive games on the Orioles' recently completed road trip.
His biggest challenge recently has been staying on the field.
"I feel confident," Reimold said. "I wouldn't play if I thought it would just act up and get worse again. I think I'm to the point where I can go out there and play and it will be OK, so that's what I'm planning on it doing.
Reimold said he took batting practice before Wednesday's game without problems, a sign he was ready to get back into the starting lineup.
"It's up and down, and it took a while to get it under control," Reimold said. "I think I'm to the point where it's not going to act up when I'm playing, and that's why I'm in the lineup. I feel like I'm good enough to go."
Showalter said the injury worsened in games Reimold played in, and that's what happened in Reimold's previous start Friday. Reimold said he would make sure to report any pain he felt during the game.
"I know how it felt last time I played, so if I feel that again, I will say something because I don't want it to act up as bad as it did out there in Anaheim," he said. "I'm aware of how it can feel, and I'm going to pay attention to it and not try to push through it because it may set me back for a long time if something does happen."
Around the horn
Reserve catcher Taylor Teagarden is scheduled to receive a third epidural injection, but if that doesn't help his ailing back, surgery is a possibility. … Second baseman Robert Andino is scheduled to return to Baltimore on Friday morning and be available for the series opener against the Oakland Athletics. … Four of the club's five starting pitchers — minus Brian Matusz because he was starting — participated in early bunting work to begin preparing for interleague play, which doesn't start until June. … Reliever Luis Ayala will have a wisdom tooth removed on the teams next day off May 3.
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