Tag Archive | "nolan reimold"

Reimold exits Friday’s spring game with shoulder soreness

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Reimold exits Friday’s spring game with shoulder soreness

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Luke Jones

Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold hit a long home run in Friday’s win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Sarasota but followed it with another health scare by leaving the game with right shoulder soreness in the second inning.

The 29-year-old was removed from action following his first home run of the spring in the bottom of the second inning. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters he does not believe the soreness is related to the spinal fusion surgery Reimold underwent last June and the shoulder has only been sore when he throws.

Reimold will apparently take a few days off from throwing, meaning he could still serve as the designated hitter while he rests his right shoulder. The left fielder continues to build strength in his left shoulder after being declared full-go at the start of spring training.

The Orioles will likely play it safe with Reimold’s shoulder as he was already assured by Showalter that he will be a part of the 25-man roster if he is healthy at the end of spring training.

After playing in just 16 April games before eventually undergoing season-ending surgery a year ago, Reimold is trying to prove he’s again healthy and capable of beating out Nate McLouth for the starting left fielder job. However, the Orioles are also unsettled at the designated hitter spot with veteran Wilson Betemit only expected to play against right-handed starters, meaning Reimold could also be used in that capacity in an effort to keep him healthy.

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Snapshot observations from Orioles’ spring win over Yankees

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Snapshot observations from Orioles’ spring win over Yankees

Posted on 25 February 2013 by Luke Jones

In their first spring meeting with the New York Yankees, the Orioles didn’t exactly face the 1927 Bronx Bombers in a 5-1 win in Sarasota on Monday afternoon.

New York right-hander Vidal Nuno made the start while Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix, Juan Rivera, and Francisco Cervelli were the most recognizable names in the Yankees’ batting order against left-hander Brian Matusz. The Orioles starter pitched two shutout innings to collect the victory while primarily using his fastball against an underwhelming lineup of hitters.

It’s only a snapshot, but here were five thoughts taken away from the Orioles’ first televised spring training contest:

1. You want to knock on wood when you say it — or pinch yourself because you assume you’re dreaming — but healthy versions of Brian Roberts and Nolan Reimold at the top of the order would do wonders for this offense. Roberts was the more impressive of the two Monday as he doubled from each side of the plate while hitting in the No. 2 spot in the order behind Reimold. The second baseman is also no longer wearing the double-flapped batting helmet he sported last season, another indication that his concussion-related symptoms might be behind him once and for all. Reimold was 0-for-2 against the Yankees after going 0-for-3 in his spring debut on Sunday, but he continues to build strength and confidence after being declared ready to go at the start of the spring.

Manager Buck Showalter has stated his preference to lower J.J. Hardy in the order after the shortstop was miscast as a top-of-the-lineup hitter in his first two seasons with the Orioles, and Roberts’ .351 career on-base percentage and Reimold’s .338 mark would fit nicely at the top of the lineup as long as you continue to see no health concerns for either player this spring. It would be a welcome change for a lineup that included low on-base percentage options such as Hardy and the departed Robert Andino at the top of the order before Nick Markakis and Nate McLouth moved into those roles out of necessity in the second half of last season.

It feels like a long shot to be able to count on a 35-year-old Roberts — who is trying to bounce back from season-ending hip surgery as well as offseason sports hernia surgery — after three injury-plagued seasons in a row, but the 29-year-old Reimold could still have plenty of good baseball in front of him if he can finally stay on the field.

2. The case of right-hander Tommy Hunter will be one to follow this spring as he is out of options. Hunter allowed two hits and struck out two in a scoreless inning of work on Monday, and it appears the 26-year-old will be eyed as a relief option this spring.

Hunter has made 75 career starts in the big leagues between Texas and Baltimore, but his stuff has never screamed starting pitcher as he’s averaged only 5.0 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and has a career 4.77 earned run average. In 12 2/3 innings pitched out of the bullpen last September, Hunter allowed one earned run and struck out 12 and featured fastball velocity in the upper 90s.

This becomes more interesting when considering Hunter would need to clear waivers to be sent to Triple-A Norfolk at the end of the spring. Other fringe starters such as Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, and Steve Johnson all have at least one option remaining, making it possible that Hunter could be viewed in a more favorable light in starting the season as the long reliever out of the bullpen while at least some of the others could find themselves pitching with the Tides to start the year.

Showalter has said the club won’t make roster decisions based on option years, but it would appear Hunter would have the inside track on a bullpen role if he has a reasonably strong spring. On the other hand, a poor performance from the right-hander would also mean he’s more likely to pass through waivers unclaimed.

3. If you’re looking for this year’s version of Lew Ford or Steve Pearce, keep an eye on Russ Canzler. The 26-year-old is capable of playing first base and the corner outfield spots and hit 61 combined home runs in his last three minor-league seasons split between Double A and Triple A.

It was a crazy offseason for Canzler, who was selected off waivers four different times with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette finally nabbing him from the Yankees on Feb. 5. The right-handed hitter drove in a run with a single in Monday’s 5-1 win and was strongly endorsed by Norfolk manager Ron Johnson prior to the Orioles acquiring him this winter.

It would be an upset to see Canzler break camp as a member of the 25-man roster — he also has two option years remaining — but his .819 on-base plus slugging percentage over nine minor-league seasons is the type of statistic that intrigues Duquette when searching for bargain-basement deals. Canzler was selected in the 30th round of the 2004 draft as an 18-year-old by the Chicago Cubs and spent seven years in that organization before spending a season each with Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

It’s a long shot, of course, that we’ll see Canzler making any tangible contribution to the 2013 Orioles, but no one expected Ford or Pearce to contribute to the Orioles’ first playoff team in 15 years at the start of the season, either.

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Five questions to ponder for Orioles spring training

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Five questions to ponder for Orioles spring training

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Luke Jones

The Orioles held their first workouts for pitchers and catchers to officially kick off spring training in Sarasota on Wednesday.

Trying to build on a 93-win campaign that included their first trip to the playoffs in 15 years, the Orioles have several questions marks after a quiet offseason void of significant moves.

Here are five questions to ponder as Baltimore begins preparations for the 2013 season:

1. Can Nolan Reimold stay healthy and be the impact bat the Orioles failed to acquire in the offseason?

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette failed in his quest to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat, but a healthy Reimold would go a long way in providing the extra offense the Orioles are looking for after they finished ninth in runs scored and 11th in on-base percentage in the American League last season. Of course, expecting Reimold to stay injury-free has only resulted in frustration over the years as the left fielder missed most of last season after undergoing spinal fusion surgery.

The good news is Reimold is already taking live batting practice and appears to be 100 percent for spring training as he will compete with Nate McLouth for the starting job in left field. McLouth is the superior fielder and has more speed, but few would argue Reimold’s ability at the plate as he hit .313 with five home runs in 67 at-bats last season.

The club could elect to use Reimold as the designated hitter more frequently to keep him healthy, and he would be an ideal fit in the No. 2 spot because of his plate discipline (a career .338 on-base percentage in 916 plate appearances in the majors) or in the fifth or sixth spot because of his power. At 29, Reimold appears to be running out of time as a viable option on which the Orioles can depend moving forward, but the club signed him for $1 million in the offseason and maintains control of him through the 2015 season.

Duquette didn’t acquire an established veteran bat and also parted ways with slugger Mark Reynolds, so this spring will be critical for Reimold to prove he can provide extra punch to the lineup. If he’s again unhealthy, the Orioles will be forced to lean more heavily on McLouth, who carries his own baggage despite a 2012 renaissance in Baltimore.

2. What will the starting rotation look like when the Orioles come north to Baltimore?

The starting rotation would appear to have a more definitive outline than it did as this time last year as Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and Chris Tillman all put forth career seasons in 2012, but none of those four come without questions this spring. Concerns over Hammel’s knee were eased with his ability to pitch effectively in the postseason, but the Orioles hope he can replicate his first half last season when he looked like an ace and was included in the fan vote for the final spot on the AL All-Star team.

Chen and Gonzalez will need to prove their rookie campaigns weren’t flukes as the rest of the league will be more familiar with each and the latter’s 170-pound frame will always cause some to question his durability over a full season. Adjustments made to Tillman’s mechanics by director of pitching development Rick Peterson paid major dividends last year, but the 24-year-old will need to replicate that success over an entire season in the big leagues.

Even if those four pick up right where they left off, manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair must sift through a number of other candidates to replace the fifth spot in the rotation left behind by veteran left Joe Saunders, who signed with Seattle last week. Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Steve Johnson, Zach Britton, and Tommy Hunter will all be in the mix, but each comes with their limitations and concerns.

The Orioles continue to point to strength in numbers as it pertains to the starting rotation as 12 pitchers made starts for Baltimore last season. And to offer some perspective on how quickly things can change due to injury or ineffectiveness, three-fifths of the rotation that began the 2012 season landed in the minor leagues by the All-Star break.

The top four will have the inside track for rotation spots entering the spring, but Showalter won’t hesitate to make changes quickly if anyone isn’t up to the task.

3. Who will step up to play second base?

Yes, Brian Roberts is still with the Orioles as he enters the final season of a four-year contract that’s seen him play 115 games combined in the last three years. The 35-year-old infielder appears to be recovered from hip surgery and an offseason surgery to correct a sports hernia, but viewing Roberts as a viable option feels more like you’re being polite than at all realistic.

The Orioles acquired the slick-fielding Alexi Casilla off waivers from the Minnesota Twins after the switch-hitting second baseman played in a career-high 106 games last season. The 28-year-old is a career .250 hitter and provides good speed (21 stolen bases in 2012), but it remains to be seen whether he can handle full-time duties at the plate or he’ll be exposed over a bigger sample of at-bats.

The most intriguing option from an offensive perspective would be Ryan Flaherty, who split duties at second base with the departed Robert Andino at the end of last season. Thought limited defensively, Flaherty hit six home runs in 153 at-bats as a Rule 5 player who stuck on the 25-man roster all season.

Because of Showalter’s preference for strong defense up the middle, Casilla would appear to be the favorite to handle the bulk of the duties at second base due to Roberts’ frailty and Flaherty’s limitations in the field. However, this will remain a very fluid position to watch as the spring progresses.

4. How will Showalter handle the designated hitter spot in the order?

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Key word for the Orioles in 2013?  Same one as 2012…”luck”

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Key word for the Orioles in 2013? Same one as 2012…”luck”

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Drew Forrester

My first baseball blog of 2013.

And it’s February 13.

Then again, there’s not really been any legitimate reason to write about the Orioles since January 1.  First, the football team kept us all in constant contact with Purple Fever, which made writing and opining about anything BUT the Ravens a waste of time.  And, obviously, the Orioles haven’t done anything worth commenting on…unless you count the signing of a broken-down Jair Jurrjens as a move deserving of evaluation.  I didn’t.

But, with pitchers and catchers reporting on Tuesday and the rest of the players showing up by Friday, it’s clearly time to start discussing our orange-feathered-friends with an eye towards the 2013 campaign.

As our very own Luke Jones assessed RIGHT HERE on Tuesday at WNST.net, it’s been a listless off-season for the Birds.  They commenced the hot stove period with question marks and issues worth considering at first base, second base, left field and starting pitching.

The team convenes in Sarasota with none of those problems either completely addressed or improved upon, truth be told.  Rather than go out and get a real first baseman, they simply promoted a formerly-failed glove with a decent bat in Chris Davis.  Not knowing whether or not Brian Roberts will ever return to form, the club elected to add a half-player in Alexi Casilla rather than create a sea change by sending Roberts on his way and giving the job to an everyday major-leaguer.  Left field was rescued in large part by Nate McLouth in 2012, but anyone willing to bet that he will duplicate his form of a year ago is just hoping for the sake of hope.  Oh, right, the team still believes Nolan Reimold can stay healthy and be a threat at the plate and share the left field position with McLouth.  The team likely believes in the Tooth Fairy, too.

In fairness, if the Orioles can get the same yield from guys like Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez, the 2013 starting rotation might not be all that bad.  Would it have been good to see the Orioles make a play for Zack Greinke or Dan Haren or, like Toronto, make a trade to bring in the likes of Josh Johnson and/or Mark Buerhle?  Sure.  But those players all cost money.

While the Birds clearly didn’t do anything in the off-season to improve their team, it’s accurate to note that the Blue Jays wound up being the only A.L. East club to appear as if winning was going to be important to them in ’13.  Boston’s going to stink again, the Yankees appear to be hard-pressed to be an 85-win team and Tampa Bay traded away some of their good young arms to Kansas City for high-level prospect types.  Sadly, had the Orioles actually added a handful of quality players over the last four months, they might legitimately be the favorite in the division.

My guess on 2013?  Pretty simple.  As The Killers showed with their first album, it’s awfully hard to catch lightning in a bottle two times in a row.  I’m going to assume the luck that guided the Orioles through 2012 ran its course a year ago and that same good fortunate bestowed upon the Birds by the baseball gods will instead go to the Royals or Mariners or Brewers or (insert team here) in the upcoming season.

2012 was a fluke season for the Orioles.

I said before the first game a year ago they’d go 79-83 and everyone in town thought I was nuts.  Obviously, I had no idea how lucky things would turn out for them.

I think they’re an 85-win team in ’13, but that won’t be nearly enough to get them into post-season play.  After 14 years of horrible baseball, I suppose we should be happy with back-to-back seasons of plus .500 play, but the Birds turned 95 wins into 85 wins in the off-season by dumpster diving for guys that no other team in the big leagues cared to take.  That philosophy worked a year ago but I can’t see lightning striking twice in the same place twelve months apart.

I’m hoping for the best, because I enjoyed the hell out of 2012, but you can’t count on luck to take you places.  At some point, you have to try to win.  And you do that by adding quality, not gambling on also-rans who swallowed the pill-of-good-fortune and put together a few good months of baseball.

I’d love to be wrong about this group.

I hope like hell they get as lucky this year as they did last season.

But I’m not counting on it.

 

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Orioles agree to terms with Reimold to avoid arbitration

Posted on 11 January 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Friday that they have agreed to terms with outfielder Nolan Reimold on a one-year contract, thus avoiding arbitration.

Reimold, 29, was limited to 16 games in 2012 due to a herniated disk in his neck and was on the disabled list from May 1 through the end of the season. In his 16 games, he batted .313 (21-67) with five home runs and 10 RBI.

The Orioles now have eight arbitration eligible players remaining: catcher Matt Wieters, infielder Chris Davis, left-handed pitchers Brian Matusz and Troy Patton, and right-handed pitchers Tommy Hunter, Jason Hammel, Jim Johnson, and Darren O’Day.

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Five biggest Orioles disappointments of first half

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Five biggest Orioles disappointments of first half

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Luke Jones

After recognizing the biggest individual surprises of the Orioles’ first half, it’s strange finding a large number of individual disappointments despite the club’s 45-40 start.

Amazingly, the Orioles have managed to find so much success despite their obvious flaws as a number of individuals have failed to meet expectations and others have been injured, leaving major holes and question marks as the club begins the second half on Friday. Even though they currently hold the second wild card position in the American League, the club’s minus-36 run differential (12th in the AL) is indicative of a group due for a substantial market correction in terms of wins and losses.

Many wonder how much longer the Orioles will remain afloat — in terms of staying in the wild card race, at least — after losing 13 of their last 19 game and scoring only 61 runs in their last 22 contests. In addition to their recent offensive struggles, three-fifths of the starting rotation entering the season was recently demoted to Triple-A Norfolk, putting an even greater strain on the Orioles’ dominating bullpen to keep them in games.

Regardless of how optimistic or pessimistic you might be about the Orioles’ chances, the next two weeks of baseball will go a long way in determining how active the club will be at the trade deadline.

Here are my five biggest individual disappointments of the Orioles’ first half:

Not-so-honorable mention: Tommy Hunter, Kevin Gregg, Nolan Reimold’s neck injury, Tsuyoshi Wada’s elbow injury, Brian Roberts’ hip injury

5. Endy Chavez

The 34-year-old wasn’t signed to be a full-time starter, but the Orioles figured they were getting a decent insurance policy for Opening Day left fielder Nolan Reimold when Chavez inked a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Instead, the 170-pound outfielder hasn’t even hit his weight in an injury-plagued, miserable first half.

While Chavez has made two different trips to the disabled list with intercostal and hamstring injuries, his abysmal .162 average in 105 at-bats makes him fortunate to even have a job at this point. Chavez figured to become the default left fielder when Reimold went down with a herniated disc in his neck, but his poor play has created a colossal hole in left field that manager Buck Showalter has attempted to fill with converted infielders (Steve Tolleson and Ryan Flaherty), journeymen veterans (Steve Pearce and Bill Hall), and a raw rookie (Xavier Avery).

Having completed his minor league rehab assignment over the All-Star break, Chavez is expected to rejoin the club on Friday, but his .402 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) must climb immediately for the organization to justify keeping him around much longer. The left-hander has a career .269 average over 11 major league seasons and hit .301 over 256 at-bats in a part-time role with Texas last year, making his horrendous first half even more shocking.

4. J.J. Hardy

Coming off a tremendous year in his first season in Baltimore, the shortstop has dealt with a tender shoulder since spring training and his production at the plate has dropped dramatically in 2012.

Hardy has never been a great hitter for average (.259 in eight seasons), but his .224 mark at the break reflects the horrendous slump he’s endured since late May. In his last 37 games, the 29-year-old is hitting .172 with two home runs and nine runs batted in.

The club’s widespread struggles at the plate and injuries to Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis have limited questions about Hardy remaining in the No. 2 spot in the order, but Showalter will have no choice but to drop Hardy in the order if his .262 on-base percentage doesn’t improve soon. Even if Hardy’s production reflected his career numbers, he’s more suited to hit in the No. 6 or 7 spot to drive in more runs with his above-average power at the shortstop position.

Hardy’s defense is still a major asset for a defensively-challenged club, but the Orioles desperately need him to look more like the hitter he was in 2011 if they’re going to remain in the playoff hunt in the second half.

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Orioles faced with interesting roster decision in last stretch before All-Star break

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Orioles faced with interesting roster decision in last stretch before All-Star break

Posted on 26 June 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Fresh from a day off before a stretch of 13 games in 13 days that will lead them into the All-Star break, the Orioles will be faced with interesting roster decisions to conclude the first half.

Reliever Matt Lindstrom is back in Baltimore and is expected to be activated prior to Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. On the 15-day disabled list since May 11 with a partially torn ligament in his middle finger, Lindstrom will be examined by team doctors and hopes to pick up where he left off after allowing only two earned runs in his first 13 appearances (14 innings) this season.

However, who he replaces on the 25-man roster remains up in the air with left-hander Dana Eveland returning to the team on Tuesday night. The Orioles planned to place Eveland on the paternity leave list to buy some time on a roster decision, but the long reliever is back sooner than expected.

Further complicating the decision is the Orioles’ need for a fifth starter on Saturday, with Tommy Hunter the most likely candidate to receive the ball in the third of a four-game set against the Cleveland Indians. With Eveland not available against the Angels on Tuesday, Hunter was available to pitch in the bullpen.

If Hunter is need in the bullpen, Saturday’s starter would likely come from Triple-A Norfolk. Miguel Gonzalez is slated to pitch Saturday for the Tides and left-hander Zach Britton made the start for Norfolk on Tuesday night.

Aside from electing to go without a long man in the bullpen, the only other relief pitcher you would even consider shipping out would be former closer Kevin Gregg, but his status is well documented with a $5.8 million salary owed to him in 2012. With the trade deadline just over a month away, the Orioles would like to see if they can move Gregg — understanding they’d likely have to pay some of his salary — and at least get something modest in return.

The most realistic option might be to go with a shorter bench with the club not having another day off until the All-Star break. Infielder Steve Tolleson would be the most likely player to be optioned in that scenario. However, the Orioles will travel to the West Coast next week, making it more difficult to summon someone from the minor leagues in the event of an injury to a position player.

Markakis not swinging yet

Right fielder Nick Markakis had hoped to begin swinging a bat on Monday, but he’ll have to continue waiting impatiently.

The surgical incision on his right hand hasn’t closed completely, and the club wants it to be fully healed before he begins taking swings. Manager Buck Showalter hopes Markakis can begin doing so Friday, meaning his chances of returning before the All-Star break are growing dimmer.

“It’s frustrating, but that’s the time the body needs to heal up,” Markakis said. “You can’t rush it. It’s just a matter of healing up and getting this incision closed up all the way. It’s close, a couple more days — we’ll see.”

Though Markakis and Showalter both expressed hope that the outfielder would be able to return by the final series of the first half in Anaheim, he will need to go on a minor league rehab assignment. With the 28-year-old not beginning to swing until Friday at the earliest, a return before the start of the second half seems very ambitious.

Markakis would begin with dry swings before progressing to tee work and live batting practice. He would then likely play in at least a couple minor league games before rejoining the 25-man roster.

“It’s going to be close on the All-Star break,” Showalter said. “I don’t see us getting him back before the Anaheim series at their place.”

Injury updates

Outfielder Endy Chavez is making little progress on the hamstring injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list on June 14. He is currently rehabbing in Sarasota.

A forgotten man after dealing with a back injury since spring training, catcher Taylor Teagarden is ready to go on a rehab assignment. He will begin playing with the Gulf Coast League team and could be activated shortly after the All-Star break if all goes well.

Showalter said outfielder Nolan Reimold had already regained strength in his arm and hand just a few hours after Monday’s neck surgery. He also revealed the herniated disc may have stemmed from an April game in Chicago in which Reimold dove into the stands after a foul ball.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Nick Markakis and Buck Showalter.

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Markakis hopeful to begin swinging bat after Nationals series

Posted on 22 June 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The normally mild-mannered Nick Markakis was asked on Friday how he’s handled being on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career.

The right fielder is itching to return to the field after undergoing surgery to remove the broken hamate bone in his right wrist exactly three weeks ago. . If he has it his way, it will come before the All-Star Break.

“It’s terrible, it’s horses–t,” said Markakis in describing his time on the disabled list. “It is what it is. It’s just one of those things that I’ve got to get through.”

Still wearing a bandage covering the surgical wound on his right hand, Markakis will rest over the weekend in hopes of being cleared to begin taking swings on Monday. There isn’t a definitive timetable in place for his return to the lineup, but the 28-year-old hopes to progress from dry swings to tee work to live pitching in a short period of time.

But the decision isn’t up to him.

The original estimation of three to four weeks for a return seemed overly ambitious when news broke of the outfielder needing surgery, but Markakis looks like he won’t need the typical six-to-eight week recovery period that many past players experiencing the same injury have taken.

“I’m not where I want to be right now, but that’s coming from me,” Markakis said. “They’re telling me I’m ahead of where I need to be.”

Markakis had initially hoped to avoid going on a minor league rehab assignment, but he acknowledged needing one after his original goal to begin taking swings on Friday was not approved by the club. However, manager Buck Showalter is remaining optimistic that Markakis’ goal of returning in early July can be met.

“I’ll hold out hope that’s the case too,” Showalter said. “But it’s an inexact science. Keep in mind, he’s ahead of normal schedule of people that do this. You don’t want to do anything to set that back.”

With the news of Nolan Reimold likely being sidelined for the rest of the season due to neck surgery, the Orioles would love to have Markakis’ bat and glove back in the lineup as soon as possible. Injuries to the two Opening Day starters have left Adam Jones playing between two players with little experience in the outfield, making for a weaker defensive alignment.

Never playing fewer than 147 games in any of his first six years, Markakis knows he’s progressing but understands the importance of avoiding a setback with the Orioles in contention in late June for the first time in his career.

“I see light at the end of the tunnel,” Markakis said. “I just want to take it [slow] and make sure it’s all healed up.”

Listen to Markakis’ entire interview prior to Friday’s game in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

 

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Reimold’s season likely over after choosing to undergo neck surgery

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Reimold’s season likely over after choosing to undergo neck surgery

Posted on 22 June 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After waiting nearly two months for a herniated disc to respond favorably, Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold has decided to undergo neck surgery in a move that will likely end his 2012 season.

The 28-year-old announced the decision prior to Friday’s game and weighed his options carefully after consulting with multiple cervical specialists in the Baltimore area. The spinal fusion surgery will be performed by Dr. Ziya Gokaslan at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Monday morning.

“The best thing to do as far as my career is definitely to get the surgery,” Reimold said. “[It will] get the pressure off the nerve that’s being pushed on.”

Reimold said the procedure is similar to the one underwent by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The herniated disc will be removed and two vertebrae will be fused together. While doctors told Reimold there’s a very small chance he could return by the end of the season, he told reporters not to bet on that scenario, explaining how the body responds to spinal fusion in different ways from individual to individual.

The outfielder expressed frustration with not being able to contribute to a Baltimore club that was nine games above .500 entering the start of this weekend’s series against the Washington Nationals, but he’s cognizant how critical the recovery period will be for the remainder of his playing career.

“I’m resigned to the fact that I’m going to do the surgery and do my rehab until I’m ready to play at this level,” Reimold said. “Whether it takes eight weeks or longer, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Reimold was hitting .313 with five home runs and 10 runs batted in prior to hitting the disabled list in early May.

Though the loss of Reimold for the remainder of the season was becoming more likely after two epidural injections failed to solve the neck issue, his absence forces the Orioles to address the left field position for the remainder of the season. Veteran Steve Pearce has held down the position recently, but a more intriguing internal option might be Chris Davis, who was once again in right field despite the Orioles returning to American League rules on Friday.

Davis handled right field adequately over the six-game National League road trip, so it’s apparent Buck Showalter is trying to assess his normal designated hitter in more extensive fashion. His bat translates well to left field and his defense wouldn’t have to be all that good to even match the skills of someone like Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano, who is a potential trade target and known for playing less-than-stellar defense.

“To not be a part of it, just to watch it is kind of tough,” said Reimold about not being part of a winning team. “But I’m still rooting for the guys and puling for them. Just from that perspective, it’s tough, but I’ll be back. Everything should go well, and I’ll do everything I can to be back as soon as I can — and hopefully be stronger.”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Reimold HERE.

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With Reimold news sounding worse, where do Orioles turn in left field?

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With Reimold news sounding worse, where do Orioles turn in left field?

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Luke Jones

While the Orioles have celebrated the return of Brian Roberts and could have Nick Markakis back by the end of the next homestand, the status of left fielder Nolan Reimold remains a different story entirely.

Prior to the start of a three-game series with the New York Mets, manager Buck Showalter told reporters Reimold won’t be back before the All-Star Break and the news could be even worse depending on the advice of a second cervical specialist. The 28-year-old was scheduled to seek a second opinion on Monday.

Still experiencing tingling and weakness on his left side after two epidural injections, Reimold underwent an MRI last week and has not played since April 30 while dealing with a herniated disc in his neck. The Orioles haven’t mentioned surgery as a possibility — at least, publicly — but it has to be part of the discussion with the outfielder not responding to shots and an extended period of rest.

In 67 at-bats this season, Reimold was hitting .313 with five home runs and 10 runs batted in before landing on the disabled list.

If the long-term prognosis isn’t favorable for Reimold to return this season, it leaves a major hole in left field that the Orioles have tried to fill on an interim basis with the likes of Endy Chavez, Steve Tolleson, Ryan Flaherty, and — most recently — Steve Pearce. With apologies to those players, it would be very ambitious to expect that combination of players to provide sufficient production for a club entering Monday only 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees.

Of the nine regular positions in the lineup, the left field slot has posted the second-worst OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) behind second base and second-worst batting average (.227) behind third base.

The discussion of potential trades has heated up in recent weeks, with starting pitching being the No. 1 priority. However, should the Orioles pursue another outfield bat if the price is right?

With so many teams still viewing themselves as potential buyers with the addition of a second wild card in each league, few hitters have been mentioned as potential trade bait. However, one name that’s consistently come up is veteran left fielder Alfonso Soriano of the woeful Chicago Cubs.

Now 36 years old and still owed a total of $36 million in 2013 and 2014, Soriano won’t even be considered by teams unless the Cubs are willing to pay a substantial portion of his remaining salary — something they seem more than willing to do to move him. He is hitting .266 with 12 homers and 41 runs batted in after hitting .244 with 26 homers and 88 runs batted in in 2011.

If the Cubs are willing to absorb $27-$30 million of the estimated $47 million owed to Soriano over the next 2 1/2 seasons, would you be willing to part with a Chris Tillman or a Xavier Avery — and perhaps another throw-in — to bring the veteran to Baltimore?

Soriano is a below-average outfielder but could settle into the designated hitter role in the final two years of his contract. For a club not in a position to deal its top prospects but capable of taking on more payroll, Soriano is a name the Orioles should at least consider if the Cubs are willing to fork over gobs of cash to help pay for one of the worst contracts in baseball history.

Ultimately, starting pitching will remain the Orioles’ top priority should they remain in the race by the end of July, but losing Reimold for the season would force executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to take a long look at left field.

Again, it’s not a move I would automatically endorse — especially when looking at Soriano’s age and limitations in the field — but it’s the type of move the Orioles can make without parting with an elite prospect.

 

 

 

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