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Orioles quiet so far at Winter Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Baltimore Orioles fans may be getting impatient. After two days of the winter meetings, the Orioles have yet to make a trade nor sign a free agent.

It doesn't worry the Orioles.

"Not at all. Just the opposite," manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday. "We value our players. If someone doesn't value them the way we do, then we keep them."

Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette are constantly talking. Duquette said the Orioles met with five others to explore trades, but no deal.

"We'd like to get something done. We continue to work on trade discussions," Duquette said. "But they haven't borne fruit yet. People like our young pitching. I can't tell you that. We like our young pitching, too."

The Orioles have several young pitchers they could move to get a big bat. Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter, Steve Johnson and Pedro Strop are some of those who could be on the market.

There are many names who've been mentioned as possible trade targets. Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler is one. The Washington Nationals' first baseman/left fielder Michael Morse and Pittsburgh first baseman Garrett Jones are others.

Duquette has met with agents to discuss their clients. He's spoken with representatives of two players from the 2012 Orioles, Nate McLouth and Joe Saunders.

McLouth is the more pressing case because the Orioles have a hole in left field. Duquette wants to move quickly on him.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to conclude those by the end of the week," Duquette said.

"We want to be prepared in the event we can't reach an agreement with Nate."

Coincidentally, the Orioles have been linked to another outfielder named Nate. Last Friday, Philadelphia cut ties with Nate Schierholtz. He has played just eight games in his major league career as a left fielder. Duquette didn't directly address speculation on him.

There was lots of other Orioles news on Tuesday. During his session with the media, Showalter revealed that third baseman Manny Machado had meningitis last month, but that is now behind him.

Duquette said Machado immediately informed the team of his illness, and the team was comfortable with his health.

Showalter said that he was comfortable with using Chris Davis at first base, but he said there was a chance Mark Reynolds, who was non-tendered on Friday, could come back. Duquette said the team has not been in contact with Reynolds since.

Last season, Showalter said he preferred not to employ a lone designated hitter. He began the season using multiple players as the DH before using Davis there most often.

He wants a DH who can play the field, not another Vladimir Guerrero, who was unable to in 2011.

"I'm hoping the people that will be DHing this year are capable of playing other places, too and having a dropoff defensively," Showalter said.

Tsuyoshi Wada, who the Orioles signed to a two-year, $8.15 million contract last December, is making excellent progress after May's Tommy John surgery.

The left-hander could be ready to pitch early in the 2013 season, Showalter said.

"We have a chance to get a good pitcher a lot sooner than some people think," Showalter said. "I'm not going to say the start of the season until we get down to spring. I think he's going to be healthy and ready to go earlier than people think."

NOTES: Showalter said he hoped to have a new third base coach to replace DeMarlo Hale, who went to Toronto as bench coach, by the end of the week. ... Brazil's World Baseball Classic's team has been replaced by Spain's as the Orioles' opponent in the March 6 exhibition at Sarasota, Fla. ... Strop has been named to the Dominican team in the WBC ... The Orioles could re-sign infielder Omar Quintanilla, who was non-tendered on Friday.

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