It never seems to end for the Baltimore Orioles. Prior to this evening's game against the L.A. Angels of Anaheim, manager Buck Showalter announced that reliever Jason Berken is suffering from elbow soreness and would probably be DL bound. The O's might want to change their colors orange and black to red and blonde. The red of course would symbolize the color that most of the Orioles seem to be in terms of being injured so often, and blonde because there is a sweet lining to this in that the O's don't have to worry about making a roster move. Starting pitcher Zach Britton was going to come back from the DL to make Monday night's start, so now the Orioles don't have don't have to figure out who's getting shipped out.
It's a wonder that the Orioles can even field a team on a nightly basis anymore. In reading message boards, blogs, columns, etc, I know the frustration that Oriole fans are expressing. However...how many times this season (and last) have we talked about injuries in 2011? I suppose my point is that while there've been so many disappointments over the course of this season, many of them have been due to injury. Having said that, all teams have injuries. However if you want to see how injuries can decimate a team, look no further than last year's Orioles and Boston Red Sox. While the Red Sox definitely beefed up their team this past offseason, they had a pretty darned good team in 2010 as well. At the very least they could have made the playoffs, however due to the number of injuries they were unable to do so. The Orioles on the other hand seemed to get healthy right around the time that Buck Showalter took over in August; we saw the results in the last two months of the season.
I'm not suggesting that Showalter didn't have anything to do with last season's surge, however what I'm saying is that this Oriole roster was in fact something to be reckoned with had it stayed healthy. However if if's and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas. Part of any sport is staying healthy. The worst part is that the Orioles are not an old team. For the most part, it isn't the veterans on the roster who are injuring themselves, it's the likes of Matusz, Berken, Tillman, Arrieta, Britton, etc who are getting hurt. Many people wonder if this has to do with the Orioles' sports medicine personnel, and/or team doctors, meaning that they aren't doing their job properly. Here's the thin...I'm not a doctor; I have no idea what kind of conditioning regiments these guys go through. Whether or not the Orioles need to look at their conditioning of players or not only they can answer. It is worth mentioning given the number of injuries and the nature thereof that we've seen over the past couple of years. In the defense of the sports medicine staff, first baseman Chris Davis was aquired via trade, and was hurt within two weeks; you can't really claim that's poor conditioning on the part of the O's.
So what's the alternative...the O's are just cursed? That's not a very rational way to look at it, however what else can you say about a team that seems to sustain injuries when guys merely walk onto the field? Whether or not Jason Berken being gone affects the Orioles on the field that much remains to be seen. However as we get set to close the curtain on this season and look once again towards the future, the Orioles without a doubt need to find a way to start staying healthy over the course of the season.