Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun
June 22, 2012
Every team has injuries. And how each responds to those injuries can make or break a season. In the past, when a key Oriole went down no one stepped up to fill the void.
That changed last year, when the Orioles played a chunk of the season without left fielder Nolan Reimold, right fielder Nick Markakis and second baseman Brian Roberts. Nate McLouth, Ryan Flaherty and Chris Davis, among others, played well enough to keep the Orioles' feel-good season continuing.
Now Reimold (neck surgery), Markakis (three surgeries and a neck tear) and Roberts (two surgeries and concussion symptoms) are prepared to start on Opening Day. If that trio stays healthy, the club will have a much improved offense, even with the departure of Mark Reynolds.
Markakis has been durable all his career until 2012, so if he played 150-plus games this season it wouldn't be a surprise. But Roberts (above) has appeared in just 115 games in the past three seasons and Reimold was limited to 16 games in 2012. When they are healthy, though, they can make a difference.
The Orioles emerged from Sarasota with only a few bumps and bruises. They lost part-time designated hitter Wilson Betemit (knee ligament tear) for roughly two months, Tillman's first game will be pushed back a day and right-hander Steve Johnson (lat strain) has been temporarily shut down and will get a late start at Triple-A Norfolk. Otherwise, the club looks healthy for now.