BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts continues to be slowed by a rash of medical issues, as the Orioles second baseman has been dealing with flu-like symptoms and stomach discomfort and is expected to undergo an endoscopy on Thursday.
Roberts has been on the disabled list since April 10, exiting the previous day's home opener with a strained abdominal muscle suffered while sliding into second base. The slide is believed to have caused the muscle strain and also reaggravated the herniated disc in his lower back, an injury suffered during offseason workouts in Arizona that limited Roberts until Spring Training's final week.
He saw back specialist Dr. Lee Riley earlier this week and has not been cleared to participate in any baseball-related activities. It's no secret that the Orioles offense has suffered without Roberts in the top spot. The team entered Wednesday's game hitting .244 and has been outscored by opponents 102-67 this season.
"I dare say how would some of these other teams do if they were missing their leadoff hitter," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "You have to adjust. I think people try to exploit it and they should exploit it from the other side, and the guys that are now hitting without Roberts in the lineup have to show a lot more patience, have to be willing to take what's given them instead of trying to manufacture and make up for the fact that B-Rob's not in there. I think that's just a basic premise that exists right now."
A dynamic table-setter for the top of the Orioles lineup, Roberts hit .283 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .451 slugging percentage in 159 games last season. The 32-year-old hit 16 homers with 79 RBIs and a franchise-record 56 doubles. The latter number set the all-time single-season mark for two-baggers in a season by a switch-hitter.
Jones looking for consistency at plate
BALTIMORE -- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones stood in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park on Saturday night and joked that lately he was wondering if his bat had a barrel.
"I thought I lost it," Jones said. "I thought I had a handle on the end of the bat, that's the way I was feeling. But the only way you can get yourself out of a slump is to hit yourself out of a slump."
Jones showed signs of doing that in the team's first two games at Boston -- connecting for a homer in each of those contests, but as evidenced in Tuesday's numbers (1-for-5) he has struggled to remain consistent.
"It's not so much that the pitchers are getting him out, he's getting himself out," manager Dave Trembley said of Jones, who angrily slammed his helmet down following a strikeout in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Yankees.
"He's chasing pitches out of the strike zone and he's expanding his strike zone, especially with two strikes. I think he needs to be a lot more selective," Trembley added. "He could work the count more, he could base-hit bunt once a game. He knows he's going to get a steady dose of breaking balls, especially with two strikes. But I'm confident that he'll handle it as best he can."
While Garrett Atkins has been on the bench the first two games of the week in favor of hot-hitting Rhyne Hughes, Trembley has not sat Jones, who served as the team's leadoff hitter Wednesday.
"I think he is our best option right now," Trembley said. "I've tried some other people but I'm going to stick with Jones."
Jones entered Wednesday's game with a .211 average and outside of his five multi-hit games he is batting .106 (7-for-66).
Atkins showing Hughes support
BALTIMORE -- As expected, Garrett Atkins was in the Orioles starting lineup Wednesday against Yankees lefty CC Sabathia, leaving the left-handed bat of rookie Rhyne Hughes on the bench.
It's a situation that could get sticky given that Hughes has taken playing time directly from Atkins, a veteran free agent signed in the offseason with the hope that he would regain his stroke.
Fortunately for the Orioles, that's not the case.
"The guy's been amazing, he really has," Hughes said of Atkins. "He's talked to me. Every chance we get he talks to me. He said the same thing, 'Keep hitting'. I don't know all these guys, I haven't played with them a whole lot. But in just the time I've been here there's been no animosity toward me."
Since being recalled from Triple-A Saturday, Hughes had started in three straight games over Atkins, with manager Dave Trembley making it clear that he was going to ride the hotter bat whenever possible. Lately, that's been the rookie. Hughes has a .385 average in his first three career games, while Atkins entered Wednesday hitting .220 in 16 games. The reason Atkins got Wednesday's start was because Trembley wanted to avoid a lefty-on-lefty matchup with Sabathia, one of the game's premie pitchers.
Hughes said talking to Atkins and reading the veteran's comments about the situation has helped put his mind at ease.
"I'm the young guy coming up here, I'm not trying to step on anybody's toes," Hughes said. "[Atkins] has been great to me the whole time I've been up here.
"He's been in the big leagues for a while and once things click he's going to start hitting."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.