Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold knows the score, but he said Saturday that the only way he's going to reclaim his career after a pair of major neck operations is to take everything that comes this season in stride.
When I asked him if he had to put out of his mind that this might be his last chance to establish himself at the major league level, his first instinct was to answer the question with a healthy dose of sarcasm.
"I'll be living and dying with every pitch, every at-bat,'' he said during the team's FanFest at Baltimore Convention Center. "It's do or die."
No doubt, there is a kernel of truth in all the clichés that might apply to him as he battles for a place on this year's 25-man roster, but he acknowledged that there is nothing to be gained by putting extra pressure on himself.
"It's in the back of your head, but if you're thinking about that a lot, nothing good can come from that,'' he said. "So it's more just relax, play, have fun, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada ... that stuff."
Reimold said that his neck feels almost normal, and he has regained most of the strength in the shoulder that had atrophied after the disk injury he aggravated diving into the stands early in the 2012 season.
"It's pretty good,'' he said. "It's a lot better than it has been the last few years. I had the surgery again, but they did the procedure a little different, it healed faster, I was further along at the start, so I'm the healthiest and feel the best I have since it happened."
So, will he be ready for all activities when full-squad workouts begin in a couple weeks in Sarasota, Fla.?
"I am ready to go right back in it,'' he said. "I've been doing some pretty tough workouts. I can pretty much do everything. I can do everything. So, I'll just listen to my body. It's different once you get out there every single day, but I don't imagine any setbacks or anything going wrong, so I'll be full-go once I get down there and get started."
Reimold wanted to make one thing very clear heading into the new season. He's thankful to the team for re-signing him and giving him this opportunity.
"Obviously, going into [the offseason], I wasn't worrying too much, but I'm definitely very happy that they brought me back since I didn't want to go anywhere else,'' he said, "and also very appreciative because there's probably not too many teams, too many owners, too many front offices that after a guy has two neck surgeries ... somebody who's not a super-established player ... would bring me back, I'm very appreciative of the organization to give me a chance to get right and give it another shot."