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Baltimore Orioles: Injured Birds Who Will Make the Team Even Stronger

The Baltimore Orioles‘ fantastic start to the season is even more surprising when one considers the injuries they have had, but with several key players set to return sooner rather than later the Orioles could improve on their already impressive record.

A few players the Orioles were counting on to have big seasons have yet to even suit up for Baltimore this summer. Other key contributors started the season healthy but ran into problems early.

It doesn’t really matter when they got hurt but one thing is clear, the O’s are winning without them so who knows how good they can be with them.

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Baltimore Orioles: 3 Reasons Andy MacPhail Should Receive Credit for Turnaround

This past offseason Andy MacPhail left the Baltimore Orioles after spending over four seasons as the President of Baseball Operations, and upon his departure the feeling among Orioles fans was that he had failed miserably.

Eventually Dan Duquette would be hired as MacPhail’s replacement, and Duquette would quickly make his mark on the O’s by swinging a trade for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, and bringing in several key arms like Taiwanese born Wei-Yin Chen and relievers Luis Ayala and Darren O’Day.

The foundation, though, the real guts of this Orioles ball club, has been in place for years and MacPhail—or “MacFail,” as some Orioles fans have unfairly renamed him—is responsible.

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Ryan Flaherty Spot on Opening Day Roster Appears All but Guaranteed

Ryan Flaherty entered the Baltimore’s camp in a three-way battle with Matt Antonelli and Steve Tolleson for the utility infield spot on the Oriole roster.

With Antonelli and Tolleson both being sent to Minor League camp on Monday, it appears that Manager Buck Showalter and GM Dan Duquette are set on Flaherty making the squad as the utility infielder.

Flaherty is a Rule 5 pick that the Orioles picked up from the Cubs over the off-season, and if he doesn’t break camp with the team he will be offered back to the Chicago.

The Orioles have stressed that his status as a Rule 5 pick would not effect whether or not he makes the team, but rather his performance would be the key to him making the team.

Flaherty has made the decision easy for the O’s—he has simply out-performed Antonelli and Tolleson.

On offense, Flaherty has posted an OPS of .777 this spring, compared to .676 for Tolleson and .527 for Antonelli.

Versatility also plays a key role in why the O’s appear to be leaning towards Flaherty, as he has played every position besides catcher and center field this Spring.

With the moves made earlier in the week it appears Flaherty will be given a chance to be a Major League ball player.

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Baltimore Orioles: 5 Young Players Who Will Either Step Up or Fall Flat in 2012

Any success the Baltimore Orioles have this year depends heavily on the performance of several young players trying to prove that they belong in the MLB.

If all of these players improve and have solid seasons, the Orioles will win.

If all of these players regress and have bad seasons, the Orioles will lose.

In all likelihood some of these young players will meet expectations and others will fall short.

Here is a look at five of these players and whether they will step up to the challenge or fall flat on their face. 

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