The injury factor

Maybe Orioles fans shouldn't take too much glee that the Yankees are dealing with injuries until they make sure their own house is in order.

Nick Markakis dealing with a slight herniated disc in his neck. Nolan Reimold with right shoulder soreness. Chris Tillman doing better after a few days of dealing with abdomen soreness. Those are just a few of the nagging injuries that some Orioles are dealing with.

While Markakis said he was "pretty optimistic" he'll be in the opening day lineup, the words "herniated disc" probably strike at least a little fear in O's fans.

Fans always ask what is the team's backup plan? The Orioles certainly have a ton of outfielders who could replace Markakis in the lineup. But they couldn't completely replace his talent on offense or defense, or his expected production.

They are backups for a reason. No team has frontline starters waiting on its bench for a chance.

It says a lot about the 2012 Orioles that with Markakis playing in just 104 games, they still made the playoffs. Heck, when he was hit by CC Sabathia on the left hand Sept. 8, it didn't look good for the team. It was such a key injury at such a key time. But the Orioles hit better in September than in any other month, mostly without Nick. It was an impressive version of "next man up."

Injuries may turn out to be the determining factor in what figures to be a very tight AL East race. Which team will have the most? Which team will deal with the injuries they do have the best?

Last season the Orioles were able to overcome injuries and make the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Could they overcome injuries again this year?

More top prospects lists: Even more top 100 prospects lists came out this week. FanGraphs' top 100 ranks Dylan Bundy at No. 3, Kevin Gausman No. 15 and Jonathan Schoop No. 57.

John Sickels released his top 150 list and ranks Bundy at No. 3, Gausman No. 23 and Schoop No. 102.

Sarasota-bound: My next story should come with a Sarasota, Fla., dateline. I am headed to O's camp for about a week to give Roch Kubatko some help and I may even convince him to take a day (OK, maybe a few hours) off. He's been cranking out the blogs in amazing fashion this spring. This will actually be my first look at the O's new spring home. I certainly look forward to warmer temps and baseball in person.

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