BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts did not play in Friday's scheduled extended spring game, as the Orioles' second baseman was sidelined with "unrelated back pain" and will be treated symptomatically for the next few days.

"From my understanding, it's not something that's terribly significant," president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "It might back him up a few days. We're going to have to see how it goes."

This is the first report of a setback for Roberts since he went to Baltimore's Minor League complex in Sarasota, Fla., last week. Roberts, who is rehabbing back from a herniated disk in his lower back, had reportedly been progressing at an encouraging rate, even coming to work out on his scheduled off-days.

Given the "minor setback," Roberts' original schedule, which worked up to a full game at second base June 10, could be altered. Former manager Dave Trembley had said that the hope was Roberts could start a rehab assignment following the full spring game.

Francona talks with Trembley after dismissal

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona caught up with former Baltimore skipper Dave Trembley via cell phone Friday afternoon, hours after it was announced that the Orioles had dismissed Trembley.

"It wasn't a long conversation. ... I just wanted to tell him I was thinking about him," said Francona, who said he reached Trembley shortly before he boarded a plane to fly back to his home in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla.

Francona, who was dismissed after the 2000 season as Philadelphia's manager following four sub-.500 campaigns in his first stint as a Major League field boss, took no pleasure in seeing Trembley get let go after weeks of speculation. Baltimore's 15-39 record is baseball's worst, and Trembley was replaced on an interim basis by third-base coach Juan Samuel.

"As much as we want to beat the Orioles, ... you don't ever [enjoy seeing a manager dismissed]. It's somebody's job, somebody's livelihood," Francona said. "We all live through that, and that's not something that makes you feel very good."

Francona said he has watched rumors swirl around Trembley for several weeks and that Trembley would have to come to grips with an immediate change in his daily routine as a result of his dismissal after almost three seasons at Baltimore's helm.

"Speculation, that's the hardest. I remember thinking, 'When I get fired, it's going to be this huge weight off my shoulders,'" Francona said. "And it wasn't. You can't live with people almost 24 hours a day and it just goes away. I thought it would and it doesn't. ... You're so close to people for so long."

Remembering how he coped with losing the Phils' job makes Francona empathetic for what Trembley is facing.

"I felt it coming, I knew it was coming. I was pretty honest about it: If I was the general manager, I would have fired me also," Francona said.

Francona's message to Trembley -- when he gets a chance for an extended conversation -- will include a reminder about the dangers of self-doubt.

"It was hard, but I've never lost sleep over losing my job," Francona said. "I lose sleep over a lot of things, but that's not one of them. It's not that I don't care, but I think if you do this job for the right reasons, those things take care of themselves. Every since I was an A-ball manager, I've said you put the players first and the team and those things will take care of themselves. And you know what? It does."

Allenson promoted to third-base coach

BALTIMORE -- It was a roller-coaster ride for Gary Allenson in his return to the big leagues for the first time in eight years. The former coach at Triple-A Norfolk was promoted to be the Orioles' third-base coach to replace Juan Samuel, who was named interim manager Friday morning.

Allenson was in the middle of a 12-hour bus ride with the Tides when he got the call. He had hardly any time to rest before arriving at Camden Yards for the series opener against the Red Sox.

"It's obviously nice to be back up in the big leagues," he said, "but I'm running on fumes right now."

Allenson played seven years in the Major Leagues as a backup catcher for the Red Sox (1979-84) and Blue Jays (1985). He served as a third-base coach with the Red Sox (1992-94) and Brewers (2000-02) in addition to his time in the Minors.

"He brings a lot of experience to coaching," Samuel said. "I think it was a good selection out of the guys I could think about to come up here and bring up to coach third base. He was the best choice for me."

As the third-base coach, Allenson hopes to instill a more aggressive approach on the basepaths.

"Especially when things aren't going well, you have a tendency to maybe sit back a little bit, but I think what you need to do is just be aggressive," he said.

When Allenson spoke to Samuel for the first time on Friday morning, he told him, "'Look, I'd like to be aggressive coaching third base," and Samuel gave him the go-ahead.

Coming up from Triple-A, Allenson also expects to have a positive impact on the O's plethora of young talent. He can relate to the challenges young players face, drawing on his experience as a rookie on a veteran Red Sox squad.

"There's a lot of young guys here. They tend to ride the mental roller coaster a little bit too much depending on how they're doing," Allenson said. "I think part of my job is to remember how I handled it and to help them."