SARASOTA, Fla. — Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold said Thursday that the decision to open the season on the disabled list was mutual and the best option to ensure he’s 100 percent before playing in regular-season games.
Reimold played in just 40 games last season before having season-ending neck fusion surgery in July — the second procedure was needed to correct the first surgery in 2012 — but played in 14 games this spring, most of them at designated hitter.
“Buck [Showalter] stressed it’s not a new injury,” Reimold said of his manager. “I didn’t do anything to it. It’s just getting 100 percent from the surgery, the second neck surgery. Just want to make sure that I am 100 percent before I go out there and play again.”
Reimold played in just two games in the outfield this spring and has had trouble extending his neck to look up for fly balls.
“The last thing that comes is the extension, the running and the pounding you take from running around every day, day in and day out, that can take its toll until it’s 100 percent,” he said. “It just takes a while for the muscles to adjust and get back to normal again.
Left-hander Johan Santana threw a bullpen session off a mound for the first time since signing with the Orioles, another significant step for the two-time Cy Young Award winner who was signed to a minor league deal and is rehabbing from his second shoulder surgery in three years.
Showalter sounded optimistic that Santana — who the Orioles originally believed could be an option to help the big league club in June — could pitch in minor league games earlier than anticipated.
“It is a long process, but there’s big hurdles he’s clearing every day,” Showalter said. “I like the fact that he’s doing it and is able to come back on his work day, his start day. [He’s] getting over those hurdles. He hasn’t missed anything yet. You can see in his face how good he feels about it.”
Santana is currently working on a five-day schedule as if he were in a starting rotation, and his session Thursday included simulating a warmup and getting up and down between innings.
“Right now we want to see how I recover, but also working on all my pitches,” Santana said. “I’m working on everything. We are not trying to change anything. We are throwing all the pitches, today I warmed up and stopped and went back up. And warmed up again. And I felt pretty good.”. . .
The weather forecast for Saturday’s 3:05 p.m. game in Norfolk is calling for rain all day. The Orioles hope to still play, but that game could be canceled unless the forecast changes. . . . Even though Manny Machado will continue his rehab in Sarasota, he will join the Orioles in Baltimore on opening day to receive his Gold Glove Award and American League Platinum Glove Award before the game. . . . As expected, Showalter said Nelson Cruz will start in left field on opening day against Boston left-hander Jon Lester so that Showalter can have an additional right-handed bat in the DH spot, which will likely go to either Delmon Young or Steve Pearce.
— Baltimore Sun