SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold was removed from Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Pittsburgh Pirates after just two innings with soreness in his right, throwing shoulder.
Reimold's early exit was odd, especially considering Reimold had just hit his first homer of the spring, a towering two-run shot to left off James McDonald that gave the Orioles a three-run lead in the bottom of the second inning.
"He said it feels fine," manager Buck Showalter said after the Orioles' 6-5 win over Pittsburgh at Ed Smith Stadium. "Just throwing between innings, it was kind of barking. No reason to stay out there. With all he's had, you take precaution with it. I don't think it's related (to his neck injury from last year), but we'll see. You're dealing with a lot of different nerves and stuff. We'll see what the next couple days bring."
Reimold played in just 16 games last season. He had season-ending neck surgery in June to repair a herniated disk and have two vertebrae fused. This spring, a major goal has been regaining strength in his left arm, which was atrophied from the injury.
Because of that, the Orioles have been careful with Reimold's playing time, even though Showalter called Reimold a "full go."
Showalter said Reimold complained of the soreness before his home-run at-bat. Reimold's homer was his first his in eight spring at-bats.
"It's real encouraging to him," Showalter said of the home run. "Nolan's been having good (batting practice) and everything, so it doesn't come as a surprise, but you could tell he was (pleased). You could probably tell it made coming out of the game a little bit better."
Roberts has three-hit day
Second baseman Brian Roberts hit his first home run in a game in almost two years, and he also had a pair of singles in the Orioles' victory over the Pirates. He pulled a ball over the right-field fence in the first inning and sprayed the two other hits to left field to finish 3-for-3. And he was very upbeat about it.
"Every day is a fun day on the field," Roberts said. "I've spent too many days in the training room, so baseball is always fun when you can get out and play. It's definitely been good so far."
Roberts used the whole field and looked like the versatile hitter who was one of baseball's best leadoff men before a pair of concussions and several other injuries limited him to just 115 games over the past three seasons.
"That's always definitely a positive sign for most guys, but definitely for me," he said. "I've always been a guy who can hurt somebody (on pitches inside), but also can take my hits the other way. I guess that was a prime example for me today."
Though it's just the first week of the exhibition season, Roberts did not play down the significance of the home run, which was his first in a game against major league competition since April 13, 2011.
"I think everything from my standpoint right now is confidence-builders," Roberts said. "To know your bat speed is still there, that you can still do things you used to be able to do when you haven't played in a little while. So it's not necessarily all result-driven, by any means, but certainly, to be able to square balls up consistently and drive balls, I think so far that's been a positive."
Hammel sharp in debut
Right-hander Jason Hammel made his first appearance of the exhibition season Friday and did nothing to diminish his confidence in his surgically repaired right knee.
He was all smiles after throwing 39 pitches -- 27 of them for strikes -- and hitting 93 mph on the Ed Smith Stadium radar gun during a two-inning performance in which he allowed no runs and just one hit.
"Nice to be out there with two good knees," Hammel said. "Very, very happy that the results were good. There's still stuff to work on but it was a good start. Good first one."
Hammel was on his way to establishing himself as the Orioles' staff ace when his 2012 season was interrupted by a piece of floating cartilage in his right knee. He was sidelined twice and eventually returned to deliver two solid performances in the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees, but he says his leg is much stronger than it was in the playoffs.
"It's night and day," Hammel said. "I can feel my lower half. ... I felt outstanding.
"... I made a goal for me in the offseason to be able to come out and pitch without a brace. So check that one off the list."
Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden, who missed the first 31/2 months of last season with a lower back injury, has been sidelined with lower back stiffness.
Teagarden, who said he woke up Friday with an achy, stiff back, said he believes the injury is minor and that he will return within the next day or two. He said he didn't know what caused the stiffness but said it might have been from swinging too many times before being loose.
"I just want to be real cautious," said Teagarden, who will be re-evaluated today. "Dealing with what I had to do last year, anything having to do with this, if I have to take a day or two to let it calm down, that's fine."
Teagarden suffered a back injury last spring training and didn't make his Orioles debut until July 14, when he came off the bench and hit a walk-off homer in the 13th inning of an 8-6 win over the Detroit Tigers.
The 29-year-old, who batted .158 in 22 games last season, has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. Last year he had multiple epidurals to alleviate the pain in his back.
"Last year it was radiating pain down my spine," Teagarden said. "I don't feel anything like that."
The injury leaves the Orioles short on catchers. Luis Martinez has been shelved with a left oblique strain, Allan de San Miguel has left the team to play for Australia in the World Baseball Classic and Chris Robinson is leaving to join Canada's WBC team Sunday.
That leaves Matt Wieters, Luis Exposito and Jose Gil as the remaining catchers in big league camp.
Around the horn
The Orioles' win Thursday improved their Grapefruit League record to 6-1. ... Cuban defector Henry Urrutia, who arrived in Florida earlier this week from Haiti, made his first appearance at the Ed Smith Stadium complex early Friday to undergo some of the medical testing that is necessary before he can be cleared to begin workouts. The 6-foot-4 outfielder was signed to a $788,500 signing bonus in July, but he was displaced in Haiti while trying to obtain a work visa. ... Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen will start today's game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte. He will be followed by Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Troy Patton and Daniel McCutchen. ... Right-hander Chris Tillman will start Sunday's home game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Miguel Gonzalez, Todd Redmond, Steve Johnson, Dylan Bundy and Adam Russell are also scheduled to pitch in that game.
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