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It was apparent that Nolan Reimold wasn’t producing enough for the Orioles to keep him on the 25-man roster and it appears we now have a better undertanding why.
Prior to the start of a three-game set in Texas, the Orioles announced they’ve placed the 29-year-old designated hitter and outfielder on the 15-day disabled list with what’s described as “nerve inflammation in the cervical spine.” Of course, Reimold underwent spinal fusion surgery last summer to have a herniated disc removed from his neck, but it’s now looking as though that procedure was unsuccessful.
Minutes prior to the Orioles’ official announcement, Reimold’s wife Jenny wrote on Twitter that her husband will be going under the knife next week, which would presumably put the rest of his season in serious jeopardy. According to MASN, Reimold will seek a second opinion on his neck, but all signs appear to be pointing toward another surgery.
“To clear things up, [Nolan Reimold] is not “injured again,” Jenny Reimold wrote Friday6 afternoon. “Failed spinal fusion. Cleared to play too early. Corrective surgery Tuesday.”
Though he spent a large portion of the first half on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring injury, the Orioles acknowledged that Reimold’s ability would be a mystery entering the season after undergoing such a serious procedure that altered the range of motion in his neck. Manager Buck Showalter continued to give Reimold opportunities, but his contact percentage plummeted to a career-low 65 percent after four previous seasons in which it was never lower than 77 percent. It was clear to see that a player who’s been relatively productive when healthy in his career just wasn’t right at the plate on any regular basis this season.
In 140 plate appearances this season, Reimold is hitting .195 with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and 41 strikeouts. His .586 on-base plus slugging percentage pales in comparison to his career .766 OPS.
“It’s not ever going to be exactly what it was with his range of motion,” said Showalter about Reimold in late April. “He’s had to make a couple adjustments in the way he sets up to get two eyes there because he doesn’t have quite the same mobility with his neck that he had, but it’s getting a little better every day.”
Reimold remains under team control through the 2015 season, but he will turn 30 in October and will be eligible for arbitration, making it possible that the former second-round pick is be non-tendered after the season.
Needing to make roster moves for outfielder Henry Urrutia and infielder Danny Valencia prior to Friday’s game, the Orioles surprisingly designated outfielder Chris Dickerson for assignment. The move removed him from the 40-man roster and created a spot for Urrutia, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Norfolk.
Dickerson had recently been dealing with a left shoulder strain but played strong defense and a left-handed bat off the bench. The 31-year-old also provided one of the most exciting moments of the season with his game-ending three-run homer against the Detroit Tigers on May 31.
However, following that pinnacle moment, Dickerson was just 10-for-54 with no homers, two RBIs, and 23 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances. In 102 official at-bats this season, Dickerson hit .245 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
Many predicted that backup second baseman Ryan Flaherty would be the one to go instead of Dickerson — Flaherty has options remaining unlike Dickerson — due to his sporadic playing time since the return of Brian Roberts, but Showalter has said the club could elect to use Flaherty at other positions and doesn’t view him exclusively as a second baseman.
Since Roberts was activated from the DL on June 30, Flaherty has received just eight at-bats.