Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold can describe in one word what the last few months have been like for him, watching his teammates win while he recovers from neck surgery:
“It’s hard to be away, especially when the team is having so much success. You want to be a part of it,” said Reimold, who hit .313 with five homers in 16 games before being sidelined April 30. “But I’m happy for the guys, happy for the team, the organization and the fans that they were able to be such a good team this year and prove everybody wrong. Just hopefully they keep it going, finish strong and get in the playoffs.”
Reimold won the leadoff and starting left fielder jobs to start the season and was having a tremendous month when his neck stiffness was diagnosed as a herniated disk. He had season-ending surgery — a disk removal and spine fusion called a discectomy — on June 25, and has been away from the team since.
He was back in Baltimore to see his doctor at Johns Hopkins this week and was in the Orioles’ clubhouse Friday.
“Got some X-rays. The bone is fusing together but it’s not quite totally done,” Reimold said. “So once that’s totally fused, he said he would clear me to do normal activities.”
Due to the pressure the disk was putting on his spine, Reimold dealt with tingling and numbness in his left fingers and arm. The feeling is returning he said, and he’s able to do some strength training, though he hasn’t ran or done any “herky-jerky” exercises at this point. He still believes the original timetable — that he’ll be able to be ready to play next February — is feasible if he is cleared in the next couple months, as expected.
“My neck feels pretty good, my arm feels pretty good, the strength is still coming back,” he said. “So at the rate it’s going, I feel pretty confident I’ll be ready to go for spring training.”
The procedure was performed by nationally renowned spine specialist Ziya Gokaslan, and Reimold made a point of recognizing club special assistant Brady Anderson and team owner Peter Angelos for setting up the consultation with Gokaslan.
“I wanted to thank Mr. Angelos publicly. He stepped in and made sure I got the best doctors, the best surgeons, the best care and everything taken care of for me,” Reimold said. “So I’m very appreciative to him and his family and also to Brady. Because Brady is the one who went to [Angelos] and told him my situation, and he stepped in and got me the best care. So I wanted to thank him.”
Right-hander Jason Hammel (right knee) threw a three-inning simulated game in the Orioles’ bullpen Friday. He is expected to pitch 4-6 innings in an instructional league game on either Monday or Tuesday in Sarasota, Fla. How he feels after that game will likely determine whether he will return to pitch for the Orioles in a potential postseason game.
Baltimore Orioles Insider
Outfielder Lew Ford, who has been sidelined since Sunday, said he is doing “much, much better “ and was available for Friday’s game. Ford said he felt pain near his hip while making a throw Sunday. The Orioles feared he may need surgery if it was a muscle tear, but an MRI showed no specific damage. Showalter said it was more like a “bone bruise.”
Shortstop J.J. Hardy had an infected hangnail on his right middle finger removed. He had been having trouble gripping a ball and bat for the past few days.
Infielder Wilson Betemit (right wrist) will see hand specialist Brian Schofield in Sarasota next week while the club is in Tampa. If cleared, he hopes to be able to swing a bat in an attempt to re-join the club at some point in the potential postseason.
Around the horn
Outfielder L.J. Hoes will leave the team after Sunday and play in a few instructional league games before heading to the Arizona Fall League. Hoes, 22, grounded out to short in his lone big league at-bat Wednesday. … Gates open Saturday at 5 p.m., and the Brooks Robinson sculpture unveiling, the last of six this year, will begin at 5:15. … The first 20,000 fans ages 15 and older at Sunday’s game will receive the fans’ choice Hardy bobblehead doll.