Roberts talks about rocky road to recovery
Second baseman not yet participating in baseball activities
BALTIMORE -- Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is not participating in baseball-related activities and has no target for his return, but he still believes he will play at some point this season.
"I can't really put a timetable on anything, just because we don't really have one right now," Roberts said following the Orioles' 12-9 win over the Red Sox on Saturday night.
Roberts dismissed the notion that Thursday's endoscopy would slow his return, and said the test was simply done for personal reasons.
"Everything's good," he said.
Manager Dave Trembley said earlier in the week that Roberts was suffering from flu-like symptoms, and the test was more of a precautionary measure, given the different medications Roberts has been taking to treat the herniated disk in his lower back.
"The stomach has nothing to do with it, really," Roberts said. "I don't know where the stomach thing came from. Yeah, I came out of the game [on April 9] because of the stomach, but it turned into my back again, so that's what we are dealing with at this point."
Roberts, who has had two separate epidural injections in his back, said surgery has been not discussed. He declined to speculate on whether he could return before the All-Star break. He is been in frequent contact with back specialist Dr. Lee Riley at John Hopkins, and they are still waiting on a few things to improve before he can be cleared for baseball-related activites.
"It could be three weeks; it could be three months," Roberts said. "We just don't know. I don't think it's going to be three months."
Roberts originally suffered the herniated disk in his lower back during offseason workouts in Arizona and only had 19 at-bats during Spring Training.
Still, Roberts and the team both pronounced him to be in playing shape for Opening Day, and the second baseman was starting in his fourth consecutive game when he injured his abdomen while sliding into the bag in the first inning on a successful attempt to steal second. Roberts walked in the first inning of Baltimore's game on April 9, and the impact of the bag hitting his midsection is what is believed to have caused the muscle strain. Roberts later said he immediately felt the strain, and after scoring the game's first run, he did not return. The team placed him on the DL three days later, retroactive to April 10.
When asked on Sunday if he would have approached his rehab differently in retrospect, Roberts said no.
It's no secret that the Orioles' offense has struggled to produce runs in Roberts' absence. Though the Orioles bats broke out for 12 runs on Saturday, they have been outscored by opponents, 127-87, and have stolen just six bases in 24 games, two of which came from Roberts.
"I dare say how would some of these other teams would do if they were missing their leadoff hitter," Trembley said Wednesday. "You have to adjust. I think people try to exploit it, and they should exploit it from the other side. 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."
The Orioles are starting to show signs of recuperation, smashing a season-high five homers on Saturday and going 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position to raise their season RISP to .217 (41-for-189).
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.