Roberts hopeful of recovery by opener
Second baseman was up for conditioning work on Thursday
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts worked out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex on Thursday afternoon and was hopeful he would be able to resume hitting activities as soon as Friday.
Roberts, who did some running and other conditioning work, was scheduled to be re-evaluated later in the day to make sure his stomach was OK before beginning any baseball-related activities.
Roberts, Baltimore's leadoff hitter, hit a speed bump Monday night in the rehabilitation process for a slight herniated disc in his back, after medication he was prescribed Sunday upset his stomach. Manager Dave Trembley said Roberts was prescribed a megadose pack, which is similar to a cortisone shot, to help reduce the inflammation in his back.
Roberts was confined to the team's training room on Tuesday, and, as of Thursday afternoon, was still waiting to be cleared to continue his progression in the cages and in batting practice.
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail went on the record Tuesday afternoon to say the situation is becoming a growing concern, but Roberts said he's not stressed yet.
"I don't worry too much about it," Roberts said, concerning the growing fear that he won't be ready come Opening Day.
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"I think a couple years ago, after my arm injury [prior to the 2006 season] I only had like 20 or 25 at-bats before I started. So, I've done it before."
On Sept 30, 2005, Roberts underwent surgery to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament and repair a torn tendon in his left elbow. He did not play a Spring Training game until March 21 while rehabbing the injury, then hit .353 (12-for-34) with four doubles in 10 games. He made his third consecutive Opening Day start that season and started 24 of the team's first 25 games, batting .286 in 138 games total.
"Certainly you want to be ready, and you want to be game ready, but once the lights come on and that adrenaline kicks in, your muscle memory takes over pretty well," Roberts said.
"In 10 or 15 days I might be a little stressed if I'm not playing. But right now, I'm OK."
The 32-year-old Roberts began experiencing nagging back spasms during his offseason workouts at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Arizona and was originally misdiagnosed with kidney stones before doctors found the herniated disc a week later.
Prior to the illness, Roberts had been progressing nicely from his injury. The former All-Star hadn't seen any game action, but was a full-go in the Orioles practices, even taking full-fledged swings in batting practice.
"You saw him out here. He's doing everything. He's taking ground balls, turning double plays, taking BP," Trembley said Tuesday. "But there was still some inflammation there, so they thought maybe take this medication orally, that would alleviate it. So he took it."
Trembley said Roberts didn't take the medication because of a setback, and the manager was still optimistic that the team would be able to get their starting second baseman on track this spring.
"We're confident that Brian will be on his way," said Trembley, who had left Sarasota for Thursday night's game in Fort Myers before getting an update on Roberts. "They say he was in the weight room riding the bike and working out, so that's good news."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.