Roberts gets epidural for herniated disc
Orioles start looking at candidates to fill in at second base
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail confirmed that Brian Roberts saw Dr. Lee Riley of The Johns Hopkins Hospital on Monday and was expected to fly back to Sarasota later in the day.
The intended course of action for Roberts included an epidural, which according to a report in Baltimore Sun, took place. MacPhail couldn't confirm what happened during Roberts' appointment, but he said the team expects Roberts to be back in the clubhouse on Tuesday morning. According to MacPhail, the plan is to wait a few days and see how Riley's treatment responds.
Roberts participated in infield practice before leaving on Sunday, and he insisted his visit to Riley was not a setback, but a more aggressive approach in treating the slightly herniated disc in his lower back. The injury was suffered during offseason workouts at the Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona.
MacPhail has said previously that the situation is a growing concern, and that the Orioles will explore internal options as well as explore outside help if there is a fit. Manager Dave Trembley reiterated that sentiment on Monday afternoon and has already begun to get certain players extra work at second base, should Roberts not be ready by Opening Day on April 6.
"We need to do what we can with what we have right here in camp, and if something happens from outside the camp, we will deal with it then," Trembley said. "I'd still like to believe that Roberts will be our guy, but we're at the point now where you have to start thinking about the possibility [of] what we could do elsewhere.
"You got three guys on the roster -- [Justin] Turner, [Ty] Wiggington, [and Robert] Andino. You are going to look at those three guys."
Wigginton, who was lauded by MacPhail for his strong play in Saturday's start, also started at second on Monday vs. the Red Sox. A veteran utility guy, Wigginton has the most experience of the three candidates, appearing in nine games at second base last year. Prior to that, Wigginton spent two years in Houston mainly at third base and the outfield, but he played in a career-high 46 games at second for the Rays in 2006.
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Primarily a shortstop, Andino appeared at second base for the Orioles in eight games last year, including three starts. He made nine starts and 15 appearances there for the Marlins in 2008. A September callup, Turner played parts of three games at second base last season in his first taste of the big leagues.
"From my standpoint, Wiggy had about as good of a day as you can have over there [Saturday against the Yankees]," MacPhail said on Sunday. "And he's got some pedigree in terms of his Major League experience. To me, you know, I would like to see him get [the] lion's share -- at least some innings again -- over at second to just expand on that."
While Roberts has made it clear that he's not worried about being ready for Opening Day, he has been limited in baseball-related activities and hasn't hit in nearly a week.
Roberts' progression in treating the injury was slowed last week after medication he was prescribed upset his stomach. Trembley described the megadose pack as similar to a cortisone shot and said it was prescribed to help reduce the inflammation in Roberts' back. While suffering from virus-like symptoms, Roberts did not take any medication and was placed on a different medication for the few days leading up to Monday's appointment.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.