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These Orioles got a second chance at a first impression

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These Orioles got a second chance at a first impression

One of the best things about Orioles fans is their loyalty. As soon as a popular Oriole leaves by trade or free agency, some fans immediately start plotting how the team can get them back.

It was that way with Nick Markakis and Tommy Hunter, too. Some fans are eager for a reunion with Jim Johnson.

The Orioles are unusual in that they seem to bring players who’ve been successful here back for encores, and they’ve done it with some regularity for the past two decades.

How about Harold Baines?

Baines, who still lives in St. Michael’s, Md., got three runs with the Orioles, from 1993-95, another in 1997-99, and a third one in 2000.

He was popular in Chicago, too. The White Sox, for whom he played most of his career, had him there for three different stints.

Two of Baines teammates, Mike Bordick and B.J. Surhoff were traded in the great Syd Thrift trading bazaar of July 2000. Baines went back to Chicago, Bordick to the Mets and Surhoff to Atlanta.

Who can forget Surhoff’s tearful goodbye? Bordick’s departure wasn’t as emotional, but he came back to Baltimore the next winter. It took Surhoff two more years, but both had happy reunions with the Orioles, and both work for the team.

Those second acts worked well. So did Eddie Murray’s. He left Baltimore acrimoniously after the 1988 season, but got a warm welcome back in 1996. He got to hit his 500th home run with the Orioles.

Some turned out disastrously. Rafael Palmeiro and Sidney Ponson both re-signed with the Orioles in 2004. By the summer of 2005, their Orioles careers ended shamefully.

Another polarizing figure, Miguel Tejada, was twice with the Orioles, and nearly a third. After Tejada was traded to Houston after the 2007 season, he came back for a few months in 2010 only to be traded to San Diego just before Buck Showalter took over.

Tejada played for Norfolk in 2012 in an attempt to return to the big leagues, but that didn’t work out.

Jeff Conine, who played with Baines, Bordick, Surhoff and Tejada, had two turns with the Orioles, too. Conine was one of the most interesting people to play with the Orioles over the last 20 years. He was a world-class table tennis player, had a brilliant sense of humor and was a kind and generous man.

Unfortunately in his six seasons with the Orioles, the team lost every year. He did get to play for the Florida Marlins’ World Series championship teams in 1997 and 2003, and is referred to as “Mr. Marlin.”

Conine also had repeat engagements with both Florida and Kansas City.

Other Orioles had unremarkable second acts in Baltimore. Did you remember that Bill Ripken returned in 1996?

Others who’ve come back include Alan Mills, Corey Patterson, Joe Saunders and Gregg Zaun. Saunders, who won the 2012 Wild-Card game in Texas, tried to re-invent himself as a left-handed reliever in 2014, but he’s now out of baseball. Zaun was Matt Wieters’ predecessor as starting catcher in 2009.

Of course, Nolan Reimold is currently in his second time around with the Orioles.

It isn’t just players who come back to Baltimore for more. Terry Crowley, who was hitting coach under 11 different managers, Ray Miller and Cal Ripken, Sr., had multiple terms with the team.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles have had long Rookie of Year drought

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm