Luckily for the Orioles the only big injury news thus far has been fairly promising in that Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis have appeared to be somewhat ahead of schedule, and the injuries to Britton, Johnson, and Jason Berken don’t appear to be overly serious. One has to hope that the O’s can get all of this injury nonsense out of their systems at this point in camp so that when the games start they can get down to business. Last season Brian Matusz was literally put on the 15-day DL immediately following the Orioles’ Opening Day win in Tampa. Injuries to their “A-List players” is exactly what they can’t afford this year. Here are a couple of “quick hit” updates:
Jim Johnson – As you might remember, this one was kind of a surprise. We didn’t know that Johnson was hurt until he reported to camp. Those aren’t the kinds of surprises that Buck Showalter looks for right out of the shoot. Nevertheless, the tall righty threw off of a full mound this morning and the Orioles are saying that it “went great.” Johnson has actually been one of the more talked about players this off season in that many people want to see him in the starting rotation or as a closer. I’m not a big fan of converting relievers into starters, however if the Orioles can find someone as sure as Johnson for the backside of their bullpen, I’d prefer to keep Johnson in his current set-up role. Nevertheless he can’t really do much of anything if he’s not on the field, so the news out of Sarasota today regarding Johnson was certainly encouraging.
Jason Berken – According to Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com, Jason Berken’s sore left hamstring is improving. Berken hasn’t gotten back on the field since the injury was sustained (running sprints), however Berken said that he feels a definite improvement in walking and that his hammy feels more normal.
I would submit that injuries are a huge part of the 2012 campaign for the O’s in that they’ve derailed the past two seasons. The nicks and cuts they’ve had in camp thus far are in fact relatively minor for the most part. It’s really just a matter of ensuring that nobody aggravates anything or any new injuries pop up. If this team stays relatively healthy, I do think they can surprise and impress some people. It might not even be fair to say that they’re a dark horse candidate to be in contention, at the very least they can concentrate on playing respectable baseball through most of the season…if they can stay healthy.
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Update: Tsuyoshi Wada has apparently developed an inflammation in his left elbow, and will be shut down for a couple of days. According to Buck Showalter, Wada told him that this is customary at this time of year for him so it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. X-rays showed nothing more than swelling, however Wada did have some fluid removed today.
I’ve been in and around sports since I was a child as a player, coach, and a fan. I consistently led the league in technical fouls when I was a basketball coach, and one famous incident I was tossed out of a game for protecting a player from poor officiating. The Orioles beat the Oakland A’s 4-2 the first time my father took me to Memorial Stadium as a kid, and I was hooked for life. While the “old lady” was far from a thing of beauty, to that point I had never seen grass so green, tasted hot dogs so good, or smelled beer so cold! Since that day many years ago, each time I'm at a ballgame I pay a bit of homage to that eight year old boy sitting in Memorial Stadium with his father. See you at the yard!