June 9 return looks unlikely for Roberts

Notebook

Second baseman returning to rehab program Friday

  • Brian Matusz walks back to the mound after giving up a three-run homer to Adam Rosales, who rounds the bases in the background.
Brian Matusz walks back to the mound after giving up a three-run… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
May 26, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will head to Sarasota, Fla., on Friday to resume his rehabilitation program, which has been delayed more than a week by a bout of pneumonia that landed him in the hospital for two nights.

"I think the scariest part was when they started testing for stuff just to find out what it was," said Roberts, who has played in just four games this season. "Sure it scares you a little bit, but I assumed, the way I felt, I had a pretty good case of the flu or something, but the doctors were great and everything seems to be fine."

Roberts missed most of spring training with a herniated disk in his back, and he aggravated the injury when he dove into second base during the Orioles' home opener April 9. He was supposed to begin his rehab last week before he was hospitalized — another chapter in what has become among the most trying periods of Roberts' 10-season career.

"It's got to rank right up there, I would guess. Certainly," Roberts said. "Anytime you can't get out there, it's frustrating. It's trying. It tries your patience and your mental stability probably as much as anything."

Roberts took grounders and played catch at Camden Yards the past two days and said he feels fine, but it's now a matter of getting his strength back and increasing his participation in baseball activities. He's on the 60-day disabled list and is eligible to return June 9, which he said would "probably be pushing it at this point. But I guess it will just depend on what the progression is."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley seconded that thought, saying he didn't think June 9 was "an attainable goal right now."

"Brian's going to have to go down there, and it's going to be like spring training for him, I would say, for the first five to seven days, and then after that, playing games," Trembley said. "But then I think he'd have to go out on a [minor league] rehab assignment. So you're cutting it real close to June 9."

Gonzalez delayed at extended spring

Reliever Michael Gonzalez, who has pitched three games at extended spring in Sarasota, has been shut down from throwing in games for about a week so he can work on strengthening his left shoulder and improving his velocity. His fastball has been clocked in the high 80s, several ticks lower than what the club wants.

"There is no problem as far as pain in his shoulder, this and that. He just doesn't have the arm strength he should have, that's why the velocity readings [are] where they are at," Trembley said. "They are going to put him on an extensive, long-toss throwing program. Mike is fine with it, and we think if he does that for a week or so, his arm strength will come back to where it was."

Gonzalez, who had two losses in his three appearances before injuring his shoulder, is also eligible to come off the DL on June 9. It's more likely that he'll join the Orioles a week or so later, perhaps when they embark on a six-game trip to San Francisco and San Diego in mid-June.

Scott feels better, doesn't start again

Luke Scott, who missed Tuesday's game with a strained left shoulder that he injured on a dive in Sunday's game, wasn't in the starting lineup again Wednesday.

"It's doing better," Scott said. "I took some dry swings. I didn't take anything off the tee or anything. But I talked to [head athletic trainer Richie Bancells] and he said we're going to give it another complete day off."

Trembley said before Wednesday's game that using Scott as a pinch hitter was "a 50-50 thing for me." Both were optimistic that Scott, who entered Wednesday second on the team in homers and tied for second in RBIs, would be available Thursday night.

Markakis to miss Thursday's game

Right fielder Nick Markakis will miss Thursday night's series finale against the Oakland Athletics because his wife will be giving birth to the couple's second child.

Christina Markakis will be induced in Baltimore early this morning, and Trembley gave Markakis Thursday off to be with his family.

Markakis will join the Orioles in Toronto on Friday.

Around the horn

The Orioles gave out Nolan Reimold mini-bobblehead dolls Wednesday, part of a three-game promotion that includes mini bobbleheads of Adam Jones and Markakis. Reimold was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on May 12 and is currently on the Tides' inactive list because of the birth of his child. …. Former Oriole Al Bumbry will represent the Orioles at June 7's major league baseball draft in Seacaucus, N.J. … Outfielder Corey Patterson entered 2010 with a walk rate of one per every 22.2 plate appearances in his career. In his first 61 plate appearances this season, he walked seven times, a walk rate of one per 8.7 plate appearances.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/danconnollysun

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