As the Red Sox deal with their own health issues and position battles, so do their rivals in the AL East. The Baltimore Orioles are currently undergoing an injury crisis of their own with star second baseman Brian Roberts.
Roberts' herniated disc is causing him so much trouble,
an epidural after a bad reaction to anti-inflammatory
medicine. The 32-year-old hopes to be on track to begin the
season on time, but that is becoming increasingly doubtful.
The O's are starting to look at bringing in outside help while
evaluating their internal options. Ty Wigginton, who primarily
plays first and third, has the most experience at second of any current
Oriole and is the favorite to see time at second should Roberts be
placed on the disabled list.
Adam Jones Poised for Leap
Center fielder Adam Jones, who came over in the Erik
Bedard trade from Seattle in 2008, took a big leap forward in his abilities in
2009, cranking 19 home runs in full-time duty. Jones expects to take
another leap forward and begin realizing his five-tool attributes.
Despite losing a tiebreaker to qualify for "Super-Two" status
(meaning he would have been eligible for arbitration after his second, not third, year) and being forced to play an additional
year near the league minimum, Jones is hopeful he can strike a
long-term agreement to stay
in Baltimore. "If they want me to be here for a long time, I would
love to be here for a long time," Jones told The Baltimore Sun.
Burgeoning 1-2 Punch in Rotation
Keep an eye on the Baltimore pitching rotation once the season
starts, as youngsters Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman
figure to be a devastating 1-2 punch in future years.
Matusz, 23, only lasted 19 starts in the minor leagues before being brought up and making eight at the major league level. He is already
expected to make a big impact. Tillman, acquired in the Miguel Tejada
swap to Houston two years ago, is a bit further behind at age 21.
However, Tillman also made his major league debut in 2009 and will pair
with Matusz to win plenty of games for the Orioles before their time is through.
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