Surgeon gets Little Leaguers prepped for opening day

A former minor league ballplayer turned orthopedic surgeon is helping kick off Riverhead Little League’s 2011 season today.

Opening day festivities start at 2 p.m. at Stotzky Park, where Dr. Michael Ciminiello, a Smithtown native who was drafting by the Detroit Tigers but put baseball aside in favor of becoming a doctor, will be handing out first-aid kits donated by Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.

“Growing up playing Little League baseball on Long Island, it’s an honor to be back home and to be able to make a difference in these ball players’ lives,” Dr. Ciminiello said before the event.

A Smithtown East High School an Princeton graduate, Dr. Ciminiello now performs reconstructive hip and knee surgery at Peconic Bay Medical Center.

He’s considered a leading expert in the field.

Check back at for photo coverage from opening day.