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Five questions for the Orioles heading into spring training

Every spring, baseball teams head to Florida or Arizona hoping to figure out the answers to a few key questions that will push them along the path toward a contending season. Obviously, those with poor records from the previous year usually enter spring with the most holes. And, as you're probably aware unless you've been lost at sea or in a purple haze since 1997, the Orioles have had nothing but sub-.500 records in the past 14 seasons. This spring in Sarasota, Fla., though, seems particularly groundbreaking. Frankly, no Orioles team in recent memory has owned this many uncertainties in February. This club leads the majors in "who's that"s and "what are they doing there"s. It's partially by design. New executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette came on board in November and immediately tweaked the 40-man roster. Since his hiring, he has added 12 players to the 40-man and invited plenty of other unknown or forgotten commodities to spring training. He wants to build depth. He wants to create competition. And he wants to see whether some of baseball's undervalued assets can play this game — a la "Moneyball." As part of his new roster construction, Duquette traded away Jeremy Guthrie, the club's only 200-inning pitcher. He didn't re-sign designated hitter Luke Scott, the 2010 Most Valuable Oriole who was limited by a shoulder injury last season. And the heart and soul of the club for a chunk of the past decade, right fielder Nick Markakis and second baseman Brian Roberts, might not be ready for Opening Day because of injury. Roberts, in fact, is seemingly fighting for his baseball career. The argument can be made that catcher Matt Wieters, center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy — assuming they remain healthy — are the only Orioles without legitimate question marks attached heading into 2012. We've whittled all the uncertainties to five of the most important questions as pitchers and catchers begin their first workout Sunday. — Dan Connolly
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