- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - The temperature was barely into the 40s as the Baltimore Orioles began their first official workout of spring. All of the pitchers and catchers reported on time, and nearly all of the position players were there, too.

Baltimore opens spring training with several questions:

- How will Manny Machado and Matt Wieters recover from their surgery?

- Can Chris Davis regain his 2013 form?

- And, how can the Orioles choose five starting pitchers from the six they have on hand?

The Orioles have 11 potential free agents including Wieters, Davis, starting pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Tommy Hunter, Bud Norris, Darren O’Day and outfielder Steve Pearce.

It’s clearly a big year for the defending American League East champions.

“We’ve got pitching depth, we’ve got good power up the middle, good defense at every position and that’s a pretty good recipe for a winning ballclub,” Baltimore executive vice president for baseball operations Dan Duquette said.

Duquette said that the biggest addition is the return of Machado, Wieters and Davis.

“That’s significant because you’re talking about three everyday ballplayers who are good defenders,” Duquette said.

On Friday, Wieters said he anticipated being ready for the Apr. 6 opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. He underwent Tommy John surgery last June.

Over the last three seasons, the Orioles have had two playoff appearances. The three years were their first winning seasons after 14 consecutive losing ones.

Several of the players who have contributed to the team’s success in those years are eligible for free agency at the conclusion of this season. But Wieters said that the team’s economic future doesn’t faze the team.

“Our goal every year no matter who’s in this clubhouse is to go out there and win the division and win it all. That’s our goal no matter what contract situations are up and it’s the same thing this year,” Wieters said.

Manager Buck Showalter, entering his sixth season doesn’t want to look too far ahead.

“It’s reality. I know about it. You know about it. They know about it. We know we have one more opportunity. We don’t look at it that way,” Showalter said.

“I found that if I’m on the 16th hole and I’m thinking about the 17th hole, I play the 16th hole real bad. That’s kind of how I look at it.”

After losing veteran Nick Markakis to free agency, the Orioles know that some of the others could be walking out that door at the end of this season. Showalter some of those players could be back.

“We’re going to play this thing as good as we can play it and see where life takes us. What enhances the ability to keep those people is win a World Championship,” Showalter said.

NOTES: INF Jayson Nix, who was signed to a minor league contract on Thursday, has not yet reported to camp. He was added after another veteran infielder signed to a minor league contract, Paul Janish had surgery earlier this week for bone spurs in his right elbow.

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