BALTIMORE (AP) Introductions won't take much time before the Baltimore Orioles begin their first spring training workout on Friday.
It's been a quiet winter for the AL East champions, who haven't changed a whole lot since last October. The Orioles begin anew in Sarasota, Florida, with a roster that features only one significant offseason addition: outfielder Travis Snider, obtained from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade last month.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette was content to keep intact a squad that last year went 96-66, won its first division crown since 1997 and advanced to the AL Championship Series before being swept by the Kansas City Royals.
Although the Orioles lost three key players via free agency - outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis, as well as left-handed reliever Andrew Miller - they'll be getting back a trio of stars who couldn't contribute in September and October. Catcher Matt Wieters (elbow) and third baseman Manny Machado (knee) missed much of the summer after season-ending surgery and first baseman Chris Davis sat out the final 24 games (including the postseason) serving a suspension for using the amphetamine Adderall.
''The biggest and most powerful improvement we have to our ballclub this year is Machado coming back and Wieters coming back,'' Duquette said. ''Those are two Gold Glove, power-hitting core players that can return to our lineup. And that's the most important component and addition we can make to the team, to get those two guys back healthy doing what they do, and they do it well.''
Davis, meanwhile, hopes to use spring training to regain the stroke he misplaced during the 2014 season. After batting .286 with 53 homers and 138 RBIs in 2013, he hit .196 last year after a strained muscle in his side put him on the disabled list in April and limited his effectiveness the rest of the way.
''I think the biggest thing for me is to stay healthy,'' Davis said. ''Last year, I had an injury and tried to play through it. I just wasn't the hitter I knew I could be.''
Davis will miss opening day in Tampa Bay on April 6 while completing his 25-game suspension, but that won't influence his effort this spring to be ready to roll on Day 2.
''Last year I got off to a slow start. This year I want to make sure I started off on the right foot,'' he said.
Because this team is virtually identical to last year's model, there won't be much mystery. Alejandro De Aza appears poised to replace Markakis at the leadoff spot, and Snider will be vying for time in the outfield next to standout center fielder Adam Jones.
The starting rotation will remain intact with the possible exception of Ubaldo Jimenez, who will compete against Kevin Gausman in hopes of joining Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez.
Signed to a $50 million, four-year contract as a free agent last February, Jimenez went 6-9 with a 4.70 ERA and was bumped from the rotation down the stretch.
''Who knows what was going through his mind last year - new team, new contract and all that stuff,'' pitching coach Dave Wallace said. ''Hopefully that's all pushed aside. He came up with some changes in September that helped him a little bit. We'll see if we can continue that. Certainly, that's going to be a topic of conversation.''
''First of all, we're kind of fortunate spring is starting later this year. We're starting almost a week later,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''We have some guys who know they're going to be on the club, so they know where the finish line is when we start. Tillman's going to make our club. Chen is going to make our club. Tommy Hunter is going to make our club. So you can do things with them knowing where it's going to build up to.''
Last year, following a similarly uneventful offseason, Duquette added Cruz and Jimenez during spring training. There almost certainly won't be a similar bonanza this time, but at least Baltimore has the money to make something happen.
''As we get into spring and there becomes a need,'' Showalter said, ''we're going to be in position to do it, where some clubs won't.''