Orioles: Things should heat up Friday

The early days of Orioles spring training camp have been relatively uneventful, which is good news for the team (no major injuries) and bad news for the Baltimore media (no big headlines). That is about to change.

Left-hander Brian Matusz held court for the first time Thursday morning to talk about his difficult 2011 season, which he already was tired of talking about last year. He knew he had to get it out of the way and was upbeat and positive. By all accounts, he has worked very hard over the winter to get back where he wants to be, and Orioles fans should be rooting hard for him to succeed. Nobody deserves to go through what he went through last year.

There's a good chance that Brian Roberts will meet with the media Friday as camp ramps up to full speed. He also suffered through an agonizing 2011 season and continued to battle concussion symptoms during the winter. He's been in camp the past few days working out, but it's still unclear what he'll be able to do during the early workouts.

Here's the rub. If both Matusz and Roberts are able to return to previous form this year -- and that's asking quite a lot -- it would be the equivalent of the Orioles' signing two top-flight free agents. They represent two of the most critical variables in the equation that Dan Duquette hopes will make the Orioles a .500 team this year. There are a number of others, but those will be two of the dominant storylines of the spring and the early season.

Every Orioles fan has his or her fingers crossed.

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