Baltimore Orioles: Injured Birds Who Will Make the Team Even Stronger
The Baltimore Orioles' fantastic start to the season is even more surprising when one considers the injuries they have had, but with several key players set to return sooner rather than later the Orioles could improve on their already impressive record.
A few players the Orioles were counting on to have big seasons have yet to even suit up for Baltimore this summer. Other key contributors started the season healthy but ran into problems early.
It doesn't really matter when they got hurt but one thing is clear, the O's are winning without them so who knows how good they can be with them.
Matt Lindstrom had been a lights-out bullpen arm before an injury to his right middle finger caused him to hit the DL.
At one point, Lindstrom had pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings for the O's and through 14 innings has a 1.29 ERA and a 3.50 K/BB ratio.
Lindstrom is heading down to Sarasota to begin his road back to Baltimore.
The more power arms a team can have in its bullpen the better, and when Lindstrom returns it will make the Baltimore bullpen that much better.
Zach Britton was the predetermined No. 1 starter for the Orioles as the team began preparations for spring training, but an injury and subsequent operation made it so Britton would have to start the season on the DL.
Since receiving a platelet-rich plasma treatment for his injured shoulder, Britton has been rehabbing and will make a key rehab start today.
Once Britton is able to return to the O's rotation they will have a fantastic young arm who won 11 games last season pitching every fifth day and will be able to move one of the struggling starters to the bullpen or down to Triple-A.
Right now the Orioles are first in the league at hitting the ball out of the park, despite almost no production form the ultra-powerful Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds was heating up before he strained his oblique a few weeks back and if he can hit homers like he has throughout his career once he returns, the O's will have a serious source of power in the bottom of the lineup.
With a career OPS of .809, Reynolds is a good hitter whether O's fans care to admit it or not. If Baltimore wants to score with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers, they are going to need his production.
Reynolds is starting a rehab stint this weekend and could be activated following a pair of games.
Once Reynolds returns, he will start to hit bombs like he did last season and like he has every season as the weather warms up.
For the first time in what seems like forever, it appears Brian Roberts is nearing a return to the big leagues.
It is unknown whether he will be able to find his old form, but Justin Morneau's resurgence has got to give even the most pessimistic fans a little bit of hope that Roberts can produce at the top of the lineup once again.
Roberts recently started a rehab stint that is expected to last 20 games.
If Roberts is able to get on base, steal bases and hit doubles like he did for almost a decade in Baltimore before his head injuries, it would be huge for the O's who lack speed and a true leadoff hitter in their lineup.
Nolan Reimold carried the Baltimore offense to start the season before neck problems forced him to the DL.
In just 16 games this season, Reimold has five home runs and a .960 OPS.
The recovery process has been slow for Reimold and he needed a second epidural to help his progression. The O's can't determine when he will be back at the moment.
Reimold looked like a major breakout candidate before he was slowed by his injury, and if he is able to come back strong, the O's will add another power bat to a lineup currently crushing the ball.