Roberts shut down from baseball operations

Second baseman will undergo further tests on ailing back

June 08, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

Injured second baseman Brian Roberts will undergo more testing on his back over the next few days, a development that will shut him down from baseball activities and further calls into question whether he'll be able to return this season.

Roberts, who still hasn't been able to play in an extended spring training game, saw a back specialist Tuesday in Florida, and it was determined that he should undergo more testing before a diagnosis is made.

"The additional testing is not a good sign," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "They're just going to put him through some additional tests, and obviously that's backing up the on-field activity. But we don't know more than that yet because we don't have the results of the tests."

MacPhail said it's his understanding that Roberts' latest back issues are not related to the herniated disk in his lower back that has kept him out since April 9.

Asked whether it is becoming more likely that Roberts could have season-ending back surgery, MacPhail said: "They've not uttered the word yet to me. … It seems like when we get close to baseball activities, whether it's pneumonia or something else, we've had some road blocks."

Other injury updates

Alfredo Simon, who converted six of seven save opportunities before going on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, is throwing and running without pain and could be activated before the end of the homestand. MacPhail said that at this point, it does not appear that Simon will need a rehabilitation assignment at one of the club's minor league affiliates.

Injured closer Michael Gonzalez (left shoulder inflammation), allowed one hit over a scoreless inning in an extended spring training game Tuesday at the club's spring training facility in Sarasota. His fastball was clocked in the mid-80s, according to interim manager Juan Samuel. MacPhail said he'll probably pitch at least once more in an extended game before going on a rehab assignment.

Outfielder Corey Patterson was held out of the lineup for a second straight game as a result of a sore groin. Patterson sustained the injury on the previous homestand but aggravated it while chasing a fly ball in the Boston Red Sox series over the weekend.

Orioles add inventory

The Orioles made 28 selections on Day 2 of baseball's amateur draft, taking five catchers and two more shortstops after they selected Florida high school shortstop Manny Machado with the third overall pick in Monday's first round.

"It was a good day," Orioles director of scouting Joe Jordan said. "We got a lot of guys that we targeted, and that's what you try to do. We had a couple of guys that fell to us that we're very happy about. It started with Dan Klein, our first pick today."

The Orioles, who didn't have a second-round pick, selected Klein, a right-handed pitcher out of UCLA, with the 85th overall pick in the third round. Klein, a 21-year-old whom the Orioles initially drafted as a high schooler in 2007 but couldn't sign, missed all of 2009 after having shoulder surgery. He's 5-0 with a 2.33 ERA and nine saves in 35 appearances this season while serving as the Bruins' closer. However, Jordan said that the plan is to develop him as a starter.

In the fourth round, the Orioles took Auburn outfielder Trent Mummey, a left-handed hitter who is batting .366 with 17 homers, 54 RBIs and eight steals this season after recovering from a broken fibula.

The Orioles also selected North Carolina high school shortstop Connor Narron in the fifth round. Narron, who has committed to the University of North Carolina, is the son of former major league player and manager Jerry Narron.

"He's a kid that is going to take maybe a little bit of time to get it done, but we feel good about what it's going to cost, his desire to play," Jordan said. "It's just a matter of doing it the right way. He'll be playing this summer."

Arrieta in mix for Saturday

An Orioles official confirmed Tuesday that pitching prospect Jake Arrieta (6-2, 1.85 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk) is getting heavy consideration to start Saturday against the New York Mets.

Monday's day off allowed the Orioles to skip struggling right-hander Brad Bergesen and go with a four-man rotation for the time being, but they'll need a starter for Saturday.

Samuel said the club is waiting to see whether it needs to use Bergesen out of the bullpen over the next couple of days before penciling him in as Saturday's starter. Arrieta, meanwhile, is tentatively scheduled to pitch Thursday for the Tides, though the club is considering scratching him from the start so he can make his big league debut Saturday.

"We're not sure yet," Samuel said. "We have a very, very tough opponent to face. Having that flexibility in the bullpen is always a plus for us. We'll see what's going to happen over the next couple of days. There's still plenty of time for us to make a decision. Let's cross that bridge when we get there."

Big two days for Hernandez brothers

A day after he pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to get the victory against the Red Sox, Orioles right-hander David Hernandez watched his younger brother, Raymond, on Monday allow just one run over three innings and get the win in Cal State Fullerton's victory over Minnesota. The performance helped the Titans advance to next weekend's NCAA Super Regionals.

David Hernandez, who said he hasn't watched his brother pitch since he started playing for the Orioles, found a bar in Federal Hill that was televising the game.

"I told him I was really proud of him," David Hernandez said. "I told him I had all the people in the bar cheering for him. It was really cool."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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