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Friday Bird Droppings: O's begin the second half

It's finally time for more Orioles baseball. In today's links, Chris Davis is on the way back, a couple of minor leaguers are still impressing, and more.

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I'm going to go ahead and guess that this weekend's Orioles vs. Cubs series looked a lot more enticing on paper when the schedule was drawn up last year. Who'd have guessed that the reigning World Series champions and one of the most successful teams of the last few years would both be struggling with similar sub .500 records this deep into the season? Oh, well. Here's to new beginnings or something. What are your hopes and fears for the second half?

Chris Davis (oblique) expected to return to Baltimore Orioles on Friday
Chris Davis, who has been on the DL for a month with an oblique injury, said he's "ready to roll" when the Orioles return to action vs. the Cubs on Friday.

Workout day provides updates on rotation, Davis, Hardy and more - School of Roch
Looking forward, with thoughts from the skipper.

White Sox Eloy Jimenez impresses with new club |
This is an MLB Pipeline report that includes a blurb on Ryan Mountcastle's 5-5 day.

Baseball Prospectus | Eyewitness Accounts: July 13, 2017 Another blurb on Mountcastle and Garrett Cleavinger.

Camden Depot: Should The Orioles Trade For Maikel Franco? Maybe?

On this day in 1964, Bob Johnson set an American League record with his sixth straight hit as a pinch hitter. On this day in 2012, the legend of Taylor Teagarden was born. The backup catcher kicked off his Orioles career with a walkoff homer after having spent the first half of the season on the disabled list.

Earl Williams would have been 69 today. The former first rounder had a tumultuous season and a half in Baltimore. Steve Stone, who won a Cy Young award in Baltimore turns 70. Bernie Castro, Billy Smith, Vic Rodriguez and Derrick May also celebrate birthdays.