Orioles' Roberts might avoid DL

Club is waiting to see whether strained abdominal improves with rest

April 11, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec | jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

The Orioles will make a decision today on whether to put Brian Roberts on the disabled list or give the second baseman another couple of days to see whether his strained abdominal improves to the point where he'll be back in the lineup soon.

Roberts, hurt sliding into second base in the first inning of the Orioles' loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, said he felt surprisingly better and he didn't think a trip to the DL was necessary.

"I woke up encouraged by the recovery process. It's probably a little better than I thought," Roberts said. "They just want to give it another day and see how it reacts overnight. I think that certainly the second day in will give us a little better indication of how long it's going to be. [Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells and I] both don't really think it's a DL issue, hopefully. Maybe four, five, six days max, I'll be back out there playing. But we'll see how it reacts in the next 24 hours.

"All I can go on is what my body feels like. We don't have an answer right now. Certainly if I get out there in three to five days and start doing baseball activity and it doesn't feel good, then, yeah, maybe it ends up being [a DL] issue, but at this point we're going to end up hoping that it's not."

Roberts was limited to just 19 at-bats this spring as a result of a herniated disk in his lower back. Both he and Orioles manager Dave Trembley said they don't think the two injuries are related.

Abdominal injuries have forced other players, such as Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton last season and Seattle Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee this year, to the disabled list, and the Orioles certainly feared Friday that Roberts might be headed there as well.

"The first correspondence that I had with Richie Bancells was that he felt at first look at Brian that it was going to be a while," Trembley said. "Today, we're not so sure if that's accurate or not. It may not be a while. It still could be, but it's certainly better than we first anticipated. In any event, it's tough not having him in the lineup whether it is for one game or five. It's a guy that we all count on and a guy that's extremely valuable to us."

Julio Lugo, who replaced Roberts on Friday, started Saturday night. If Roberts has to go to the disabled list, the club could call up infielders Robert Andino or Justin Turner, or opt to use the roster spot for another reliever, such as Kam Mickolio or Alberto Castillo.

Samuel stands by decision
Orioles third base coach Juan Samuel knows he would have been the target of much fan criticism had pinch runner Felix Pie been thrown out at the plate in the eighth inning Friday trying to score from first on Cesar Izturis' single.

However, Blue Jays catcher John Buck couldn't handle John McDonald's relay throw and Pie, who would have been out by several feet, slid in safely to give the Orioles a one-run lead. The play became an afterthought when Michael Gonzalez blew the save.

"Even if it didn't work, you know me, I wasn't going to regret it," Samuel said. "It's just a thing that you have to do sometimes to help the team win. To me, I was just thinking, 'Hey this is a chance we have to score a run going into the ninth inning.' That's why I kind of pushed the envelope a little bit. I just wanted to go into the ninth inning with a lead, and I took a chance."

Jones honored
In a pre-game ceremony Saturday night, former Orioles outfielder Paul Blair presented the team's current center fielder, Adam Jones, with the Rawlings Gold Glove award for the 2009 season. Blair, who won eight Gold Gloves, was the last Orioles outfielder to win one before Jones was honored.

"I told Jones how proud we were of him," said Trembley, who met with the center fielder before the game.

"I hope he understands the significance of the award that he's getting, not only for himself but for what it means to the Baltimore Orioles organization and also, to be very honest with you, what it means because he's an African-American. This is a very historic day for the Orioles and for Adam Jones, and I told him, in a nutshell, to understand the responsibility that comes with you walking out there tonight and accepting the award."

Around the horn
Pie (strained left rotator cuff) took batting practice Saturday night and will return to the lineup for today's series finale. ... Before the Orioles did it this season, the last team to begin a season with four consecutive one-run games was the 2002 Montreal Expos, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The only other Orioles team to do it was the 1971 squad. ... Ty Wigginton made his first start of the season Saturday night, playing first base. Garrett Atkins was the designated hitter. Luke Scott got the night off.

Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Van Valkenburg contributed to this article.

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