Bird Talk: Duquette building winner, spring questions answered, impact prospect

Five days.

We will have regular season baseball starting on Monday, which is five days away.

But before the Orioles open against the World Series champions the Boston Red Sox, make sure you catch up on any stories you might have missed on the Orioles from National writers.

* Toward the end of last week, one of my favorite baseball writers Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, wrote a really nice column on the 2014 Orioles. Kepner starts his column by detailing executive vice president Dan Duquette’s successes in the last 10 years. His 1994 Montreal Expos had the best record in the major leagues, Duquette laid the groundwork for the 2004 Red Sox, a team that famously broke an 86-year-old curse. So what will 2014 bring? Only time will tell, but Kepner says do not discount the 2014 Orioles.

* Both Dylan Bundy and Johan Santana are rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and shoulder surgery, respectively. Both pitchers have been rehabbing at the Orioles’ minor league complex. Bundy and Santana are pushing one another to see who will make it to the Orioles’ rotation first. I don’t necessarily think the Orioles care who gets there first as long as both come back to the club healthy.

* Heading into spring training, the Orioles had several question marks that needed to be addressed. As the team prepares to fly to Baltimore for the start of the regular season, there are still a few questions that need answers. First, who will win the left field job, Nolan Reimold or David Lough? Second, can Kevin Gausman outpitch Bud Norris to earn earn the fifth and final start in the rotation? Finally, the Orioles have four possible candidates to be their starting second baseman: Jemile Weeks, Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop and newly acquired Steve Lombardozzi. This article shows how the Orioles will answer these questions.

* CBS Sports recently came out with a list of top prospecta that could make an impact on each team in 2014. For the Orioles, second baseman Schoop is listed as the prospect most likely to make an impact. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Schoop has had a sizzling spring offensively. Last season, Schoop was limited to 81 minor league games because of a stress fracture in his back. Right-hander Gausman was listed as the Orioles’ honorable mention. If something goes wrong in the rotation, expect Gausman to get the call.

That’s a wrap of this week’s Bird Talk. Don’t forget to check daily for complete Orioles coverage.

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