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What they're saying about the Orioles: June 2

Here's a look at what other media outlets have said about the Orioles in the past week:

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman listed the 2011 Orioles as one of his "Snakebitten Six" teams.

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Team igniter Brian Roberts has been idled, the result of another concussion. He's been prescribed rest, but it isn't known when he'll be able to return. Free-agent pickup Derek Lee, who was supposed to be the veteran presence they needed, has wrist and thumb problems in spring and is now sidelined with the ever-annoying oblique injury. Cesar Izturis recently had elbow surgery. And J.J. Hardy earlier was out with his own oblique injury, making the infield nothing short of a disaster area. Starting pitcher Brian Matusz, who is much-needed, will make his season debut Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Justin Duchscherer is still out with a hip issue.

• Bob Nightengale of USA Today points out that Mark Reynolds is closing in on a dubious distinction.

Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds, who hit .198 last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks while leading the major leagues in strikeouts for the second consecutive season, could make Mendoza-line history. He is batting .196 after being traded during the offseason and is threatening to join shortstop John Gochnauer of the 1902-'03 Cleveland Indians as the only players in major league history with at least 300 at-bats to hit below .200 in back-to-back years.

"I hope they don't start picking on [Reynolds] like they did me," [former MLB player Mario] Mendoza said. "It's tough to deal with. It wasn't fair to me. There was a lot of guys struggling at the plate, not just me.

"Hitting is the toughest thing to do in baseball. Look at how few (35) .300 hitters there are."

• Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says that the Orioles could target Brewers slugger Prince Fielder.

The Orioles have shown signs of improvement this year, but this week's five-game losing streak on the West Coast is another reminder that they're not yet good enough.

It's almost certain that this will be the 14th straight year without a playoff game at Camden Yards -- and probably the 14th straight year without a winning record, as well.

What to do about it?

Orioles people have been telling friends in the game that they'll have significant money to spend next winter, that manager Buck Showalter wants a first baseman who can hit in the middle of the order -- and that Prince Fielder may be the top target on their list.

• ESPN's Keith Law ranked Manny Machado as the 10th best prospect in baseball (up 16 spots).

The first major jump here as Machado, currently out with a knee injury, looked better than expected at shortstop and far more comfortable at the plate than expected, adjusting to better off-speed stuff and taking great at-bats in low-A. He won't turn 19 until July, and is just three months older than [Bryce] Harper.

• Joe Sheehan of Sports Illustrated put right fielder Nick Markakis on his "All-Disappointment" team.

One of the great mysteries of this decade is the loss of Markakis' power. After slugging .491 as a 24-year-old, he's seen that figure drop three straight seasons all the way to .318 in 2011. This year, he's not hitting for average, either: just .244, after five straight seasons above .290. Even with his above-average defense, that makes him a liability for an Orioles team that was, to some extent, built around his bat. Look for the average to rebound -- Markakis is hitting a ton of line drives -- without the power.

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 [Compiled by Matt Vensel. If you enjoy reading these posts about the Orioles, Ravens and other Baltimore sports, check out Vensel's Coffee Companion posts every morning, Monday-Friday.]

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