MacPhail: Roberts won't play for at least a week

O's president still confident injured second baseman will be ready by Opening Day

March 09, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec and Peter Schmuck , | By Jeff Zrebiec and Peter Schmuck

SARASOTA, Fla. — - Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he doesn't expect Brian Roberts to play in an exhibition game for at least another week, but he is still confident that the injured second baseman will be ready for Opening Day.

"The medical stuff that I have so far indicates that he should be ready to go when the season starts," MacPhail said. "It is what it is. You have to recognize that you have a month to go before you open. You have time, and you have to take advantage of it to make it right."

MacPhail said that Roberts, who has a slightly herniated disk in his back, has had no setbacks, but the club is taking a "very low-key approach" with the treatment.

MacPhail also said that at this point, the club is not considering starting Nolan Reimold, who had left Achilles tendon surgery in September, on the disabled list. Reimold sat out a second straight game Monday, but he's scheduled to start in left field today.

"We might have to manage his innings and where he plays some, but I have no indication at this point that he'll need to go on the DL," MacPhail said.

Bergesen ready to go
Most of the attention has been on Orioles starter Brad Bergesen's physical recovery from the bruised left shin he suffered last July, and the shoulder strain he incurred in early December. However, Bergesen used last week to get in some psychological recovery as well.

Twice during live batting practice last week, Bergesen had to defend himself against hard comebackers that were reminiscent of the one that Kansas City Royals slugger Billy Butler hit off his shin July 30, ending a strong rookie season. One of the balls, hit by Michael Aubrey, struck Bergesen in the right leg and the other, off the bat of Lou Montanez, was caught by the second-year pitcher.

"I've got that out of the way, so I'm getting a little more comfortable with it," Bergesen said. "Hopefully, that did the trick and I'll be ready to go."

Bergesen will make his Grapefruit League debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night. He's expected to throw a maximum of two innings, the same guideline for the other Orioles starters during their exhibition debuts.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "Obviously, it's been a long time coming."

Matusz solid again
Right-hander Brian Matusz gave up a pair of runs in the first inning of his second exhibition start, but he continues to beguile opposing hitters with a steady diet of fastballs and changeups.

He worked 2 2/3 innings and struck out six in Monday's 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Ed Smith Stadium and now has 10 strikeouts in just four innings of work.

"Right now I'm really focusing on the fastball in and out," Matusz said. "I don't know about the percentages, but I feel I've thrown the fastball for the majority of my pitches. I'm still trying to throw my three off-speed pitches, just trying to use them at the right times and not trying to overdo it. That's pretty much my main focus, just get comfortable, get my work in, attack the zone with all the pitches. I felt like I threw a lot of strikes today."

Pitching in
The Orioles used nine pitchers Monday and six of them held the Twins scoreless, including Mike Gonzalez and Koji Uehara. Gonzalez, who was wild and high with pitches in his Orioles competitive debut Friday night, seemed satisfied with the adjustments he made.

"I definitely worked on some things this time as opposed to last time, [when] I was very high," Gonzalez said. "I missed down in the zone, so that's a lot better for me. I got another base on balls, but I missed down and I worked on some pitches. I worked on my changeup a few more times this inning, so overall it was a positive day for me."

Around the horn
Manager Dave Trembley was impressed with Kevin Millwood's side session Monday. ... Justin Turner (bruised left foot) could return to action as early as today. ... Luke Scott made his first start at first base Monday. ... Orioles Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer will throw out the first pitch before today's game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium and sign autographs for the first 200 fans in line from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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