Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. said Tuesday on a conference call that despite a series of early-season injuries, the 2015 Orioles are "positioned pretty well" for the rest of the season with the core of their team now healthy.

"They've been hit with the injury bug, and somehow, they find a player to contribute and get them to where they need to be," Ripken said Tuesday on a call in advance of the beginning of Sunday MLB on TBS this weekend.


"I think a lot of people were concerned that they lost Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis in the offseason, where was the offense going to come from. They are in a particularly good position now, having weathered some of the injuries with Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop back. I think they're positioned pretty well and I'm not surprised about four All-Stars. They've got a good ballclub."

Those All-Stars are a big reason why the Orioles are contenders in the division.

Third baseman Manny Machado and center fielder Adam Jones, both of whom were named to the All-Star Game as reserves Monday, have shouldered an extra burden as the rest of the team's stars worked their way back to health in the spring.

Machado is batting .301 with a career-high 18 home runs, and Jones has fought through injuries of his own to bat .285 with 11 home runs this season. First baseman/right fielder Chris Davis has also bounced back from a tough 2014 to hit 18 home runs of his own and drive in a team-high 51 runs.

But with Wieters, Schoop, and shortstop J.J. Hardy returning to give the Orioles their expected Opening Day lineup for the first time all season, the team has a foundation to build upon from a first half that has kept them in the American League East mix.

Part of that, Ripken said, is because of the back end of the bullpen. The other two All-Stars, closer Zach Britton and reliever Darren O'Day, have a 1.82 ERA and 1.10 ERA, respectively, and have been lockdown relievers in their 34 appearances apiece.

"You know how good Buck Showalter is as a manager at finding different talent and handling the bullpen," Ripken said. "Zach Britton and Darren O'Day as All-Stars, it's really indicative of how great they've been at the back end of the bullpen. Their numbers are extraordinary."

Ripken makes his debut in the booth on July 19 when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit Nationals Park to face Washington.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun