Soreness delays Roberts' return


Minor league games irritate groin

Penn strengthens his call-up case


Washington -- The Orioles hoped to activate second baseman Brian Roberts yesterday but didn't because his injured groin was still sore after he played in two minor league games.

Roberts went 1-for-5 with two walks in his appearances for Double-A Bowie on Wednesday and Thursday. But he was moving gingerly yesterday and said the injury hadn't responded well to stress.

"I still have ... a little discomfort, and we just don't want to push it right now," he said. "A couple more days is better than three or four weeks later on."

Roberts rested yesterday but said he will take batting practice today. He agonized over not playing last night against the Washington Nationals.

"I hadn't slept hardly for two nights trying to figure out what to do," he said. "It's the hardest thing in the world for me to walk in and be eligible to be off the DL and have to say it's smart to wait. It's just not in my nature."

Roberts was hurt three weeks ago when he stole third base against the Seattle Mariners. He was batting .330 at the time, and six Orioles have struggled to fill his leadoff shoes since. Ed Rogers started in his place last night.

Manager Sam Perlozzo said he empathized with his second baseman.

"He's sitting there knowing that he's eligible to be activated," Perlozzo said. "And really, you know he wants to do the right thing. He doesn't want to go in because he knows himself and he knows if he goes in and he's not ready, he's going to go full tilt and he ... could set himself back a couple weeks. It's bothered him that way. So he's a little down because he's not quite ready."

Cabrera's fill-in uncertain

Perlozzo hasn't decided who will fill Daniel Cabrera's spot in his rotation when the Orioles travel to Seattle and Los Angeles next week.

But right-hander Hayden Penn is making a strong case for himself at Triple-A Ottawa. Penn pitched seven scoreless innings Thursday night to lower his ERA to 1.48. He struck out seven and allowed only five hits to earn a win over Syracuse.

Perlozzo said he wouldn't be surprised to see Penn come to the majors and succeed. Penn, 21, was 3-2 with a 6.34 ERA for the Orioles last season.

Perlozzo said Cabrera's recovery from shoulder inflammation seems to be progressing well. He's expected back in less than two weeks.

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