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Orioles returning to full-strength

Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was the only member of the team last season to play all 162 games and he had many different teammates throughout the year.

The Orioles used 52 players last season. No team ever wants to have to use that many players in a season but, as expected, problems and mainly injuries arise.

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Baltimore was no exception, getting hit with the injury bug last season.

"There are a lot of things about a baseball season, over 162 games," Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said at Orioles FanFest. "We can continue to improve on it and sort of take experience from last year and help us this year."

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And this year, Baltimore hopes all of its players begin the season healthy, and remain that way. The injuries began right at the top of the order last season with the two of the longest tenured players on the roster.

Second baseman Brian Roberts' injury problems began before last season. He suffered multiple concussions before returning in mid-June last season.

His return was short-lived, however, as he played just 17 games suffering a torn labrum in his right hip ending his season. Roberts said he believes this year will be different as he is expected to be ready for spring training.

"I'm really looking forward to being on the field first day doing everything everybody else is doing," Roberts said. "It's been a long journey to get to this point again."

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In addition to Roberts, Nick Markakis, another leadoff hitter for the Orioles in 2012, battled injuries all season. Markakis suffered a broken hamate bone in his right arm keeping him from late May to mid-July.

Then after finding tremendous success batting leadoff, Markakis broke his left thumb, which prevented him from making his playoff debut.

Markakis said he is completely healed and ready to hopefully pick up this year with the same success, no matter where he hits in the lineup.

"I'm ready to roll," Markakis said. "It doesn't matter where I'm at [in the lineup] really."

The Baltimore right fielder hit .335 in 54 games hitting leadoff last year with an on-base percentage of .390. Markakis said there were some things he enjoyed about hitting leadoff and he'll be ready to do it again if needed.

"One thing I could gain from it was I swung a little more," Markakis said. "That's the beauty about being leadoff. You know what's going to come that first pitch every game most of the time."

Many times last season, the Orioles not only had to shift players around in the lineup, but in the field as well. Chris Davis was affected by the injuries, despite never suffering one himself.

Davis, originally a first baseman, was moved to both left and right fields at times last season while also spending some time as the designated hitter. The power-hitting Davis' bat was too strong last year to leave out of the lineup.

Davis said it was rare to have his defense questioned after being successful at first throughout most of his career, but he moved around as long as it got him the chance to play.

"I felt like I didn't play anywhere where I was capable of playing," Davis said. "But, we had a lot of injuries, guys going down in the outfield."

In addition to Markakis, Baltimore left fielder Nolan Reimold was among injured outfielders. Reimold began the season hot, hitting .313 with five homers and 10 RBIs in 16 games, primarily in the leadoff spot.

But, much like throughout most of his career, Reimold suffered a neck injury resulting in the removal of a bulging disk which ended his season. Reimold, like Roberts, said he had "a long, long road to get back."

"I don't think anybody's been away from the game as long as I have been," Reimold said. "I wanted to be there, and just couldn't be there. ... I'm definitely ready to get back to baseball."

The Orioles' 2012 list of injuries do not stop there. Starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada missed the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early April.

Baltimore ace Jason Hammel spent extensive time on the disabled list with a right knee injury. Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden began the season on the 60-day DL with a back injury that sidelined him until mid-July.

The Orioles had several other injuries to role players throughout the season, requiring many call-ups from the minors and spots being filled. Baltimore executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said he is excited for his team to return healthy and attempt another playoff run.

"This is a good ballclub," Duquette said. "The fans can see that we have a youthful team, great leadership with our manager Buck Showalter, and they're all back in Baltimore for another run at it."

NOTE:

The Orioles worked out former Baltimore relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes and infielder/outfielder Fernando Tatis this week according to various sources. The 43-year-old Rhodes was drafted by the Orioles in 1988 and played on the team from 1991 through 1999.

Rhodes has been out of baseball since 2011 when he won the World Series as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The 38-year-old Tatis has been out of the majors since 2010 and played for Baltimore in 28 games in 2006.

Rhodes is not the only ex-Oriole reliever to work out for the team this offseason. 38-year-old left-hander Mark Hendrickson worked out for the team last month as he is attempting to reenter the league as a side-armer.

Multiple sources have also reported Baltimore has signed starter Jair Jurrjens to a minor-league deal, although the club is yet to comment.

Duquette said at FanFest he was hoping to add some veteran pitching to his team, and it appears that is what he is trying to do now.

"We'd like to add some veteran pitching between now and the time we go to spring training," Duquette said, "so we'll be talking to some players."

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