SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold hit off live pitching Tuesday for the first time since undergoing season-ending neck surgery, and the expectation is that he will be without restrictions from Day 1 of Spring Training.
"Just keep an eye out for any fatigue," manager Buck Showalter said of how he will handle Reimold early in camp. "He's just about all the way there. The medical thing with [head athletic trainer Richie Bancells] today, he stood right here and gave it to us today. He's a full-go. We're going to go off of Nolan."
Reimold took some swings against Spring Training instructor Scott McGregor on one of the back fields.
"It's a big step for him mentally more than physically," Showalter said. "He's not nervous, but he's got some anxiety about getting that first [hit]. He's afraid he's going to go out there and swing and miss about 10 times."
The 29-year-old Reimold hit .313 with five home runs and 10 RBIs in 16 games last year, but he didn't play after April 30 because of a herniated disk in his neck that eventually required surgery. In his place, the Orioles signed Nate McLouth, who they brought back this winter on a one-year deal, and the left-field competition will be one of spring's more interesting storylines.
"I'm not going to use that 'P' word right now," Showalter said of a possible platoon between Reimold and McLouth. "I kind of like the edge that Nolan's got right now. He's seen some things we've done. ... I do have a long memory of what Nolan was getting ready to do for us last year, and how he got hurt [diving into the stands for a ball].
"So he's going to get a very patient approach. He can be a big player for us this year, something that a lot of people have forgotten about. We haven't, but also I'm not going to be constantly telling Nolan that, because he thinks that all of us have forgotten about Nolan. He could be a positive kick in the pants for us if he comes back and is healthy and ready to go. ... You can see that look in his eye. He's friendly to me, but he's got that [edge]. Brady [Anderson] made a good point. He said, 'I'm not sure you want to take that away from him,' and I agree."