The 2012 Baltimore Orioles were one of the feel good stories of the Major League Baseball season as they ended their 14 consecutive losing season streak and made the postseason for the first time since the 1997 season. Despite all of their success last season, the Orioles did so with several key players injured throughout the season.
Let's take a look at how some of these injured Orioles are doing now and their outlooks for Spring Training.
- Jason Hammel – Hammel returned to action towards the end of the season last year and did not seem to miss a beat from the success he had early on in the season. Hammel could be the opening day starter for Baltimore, but the Orioles hope he will be able to remain healthy the entire season this time around. Jason will be and is healthy for the start of Spring Training.
- Zach Britton – Zach came into last season dealing with an injury and completely missed out on a full offseason and spring training, thus when he came back to Baltimore last season he was still in "spring training mode". Britton is now 100% healthy and has had a full offseason and will be ready to go at the start of Spring Training, so it will be interesting to see if he returns to his 2011 form.
- Nick Markakis – Nick had an unfortunate 2012 as he had two stints on the DL and the second stint kept him out of the playoffs for the Orioles as he had a broken thumb. When in the lineup, Markakis was performing extremely well, especially once manager Buck Showalter put him in the leadoff spot, and a 100% healthy Nick Markakis will be an improvement for this Baltimore team in 2013.
- Nolan Reimold – Reimold missed most of the 2012 season with a neck injury as he did not play after April, and he was having a good start to the season for Baltimore. Nolan has been cleared by doctors to take part in Spring Training and in an X-Ray on January 10th, it had been determined that the bone had fused and he has no restrictions now. Reimold appears to be 100% healthy now and will be ready to go at the start of Spring Training. If he can produce for an entire season the way he did in his brief 2012 campaign, that will be yet another improvement for the Orioles lineup.
- Brian Roberts – This offseason, I have not been asked more about any single player than I have been asked about Roberts, and rightfully so. Roberts hasn't played a full season in this decade and all of Baltimore is skeptical on whether or not he can even remain healthy, nonetheless be productive as he once was. Roberts rehab from hip surgery has gone very well, but in late December he had to have sports hernia surgery, which requires a month for recovery, but despite that, Roberts has stated that he will be "full go" at the start of Spring Training. Can Brian stay healthy? I, like most Orioles fans do not believe so and I look for Alexi Casilla and Ryan Flaherty to platoon at second base for the Orioles this season, and if need be, do not be surprised to see the highest ranking position prospect, Jonathan Schoop, get called up to Baltimore if they are in the thick of the playoff race.
Baltimore's overall health seems to be very good heading into Spring Training in 2013, but will guys such as Reimold and Roberts be able to stay that way will be the big question.
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