Headaches sideline Orioles' Roberts

Second baseman has been having them since headfirst slide Monday; Izturis could miss 6-8 weeks

May 18, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

Already dealing with several injury-related roster questions, the Orioles played Wednesday night without second baseman Brian Roberts, who has been experiencing headaches since his headfirst slide to lead off Monday's game in Boston.

Roberts was scheduled to see team doctors before Wednesday's game to determine the cause of his latest health issue. The Orioles will proceed with caution; he missed the final six games of the 2010 season because of headaches

"Let the doctors put their arms around it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "They just got here to look at it. Before making any evaluations, he's had some headaches and had trouble sleeping the last couple nights. So before we go forward with it, we want to get it checked out."

Roberts starting experiencing headaches late last season after hitting himself in the helmet with his bat following a strikeout against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 27. The concussion symptoms persisted more than a month into the offseason.

It's too early to say whether the headfirst slide Monday is causing the headaches. Roberts, who wasn't available for comment before the game, was sidelined this spring with back discomfort after he slid headfirst into first base in a Grapefruit League game.

"We talked to him about it," Showalter said. "The problem [is] in the heat of the moment, and the heat of the competition, you are trying to get there the fastest way you can, and he feels like he can. But it's part of his game, whether he's sliding headfirst into second or third or first, there's always risk involved."

Roberts has started 39 of the Orioles' 41 games this season. He missed about 31/2 months last year because of a herniated disk in his back. Robert Andino started at second base in his place Wednesday, and Felix Pie hit leadoff.

Surgery for Izturis; Snyder up

Infielder Cesar Izturis, who was put on the disabled list Wednesday, will have surgery to move the ulnar nerve in his right elbow, a procedure that could keep him out six to eight weeks, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.

Izturis has been dealing with numbness in several of the fingers on his right hand. Showalter and Izturis said it is the result of ligament-reconstruction surgery he had on his right elbow in 2005. When Izturis had the Tommy John surgery performed, the doctor did not move the ulnar nerve, and scar tissue has formed on the nerve, causing "some of the damage," Showalter said.

Izturis chose to have the operation to move the nerve rather than getting an injection or having the scar tissue removed.

The infielder, who hadn't played since last Thursday and had started just eight games, said he has dealt with the discomfort for a while but it progressed to where he couldn't grip the ball.

"It hasn't been this bad, but I reached a point where we had to do something," Izturis said.

Triple-A Norfolk first baseman Brandon Snyder took Izturis' place on the roster. Snyder, the Orioles' first round pick in 2005, batted .276 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 35 games for the Tides. He made his big league debut in September and went 6-for-20 (.300) with three RBIs in 10 games.

The Orioles opted not to put first baseman Derrek Lee (strained left oblique) on the DL. Lee, who was hurt in Monday's game, said he was feeling much better and is hoping to avoid an extended absence. At this point, the Orioles appear willing to play short-handed and give him a couple of days to see how much he improves.

Norfolk left-hander Troy Patton is with the team and available to be recalled in Lee's place. Lee was the only Oriole to start the team's first 40 games, but Luke Scott started at first Wednesday in his place.

Pitching updates

Alfredo Simon will likely make his next appearance as an Oriole. The Orioles have to take him off the restricted list by Sunday are prepared to activate the big right-hander and use him out of the bullpen.

"I see him as a long guy," MacPhail said. "If he gets them out, he'll be a short guy. These things tend to sort themselves out."

Simon pitched six scoreless innings for Double-A Bowie on Tuesday, lowering his ERA to 3.38 through three starts for the Baysox. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Simon will stand trial in the Dominican Republic after a fatal New Year's Day shooting that resulted in his being imprisoned for two months as the chief suspect. However, that has not changed the Orioles 'timetable for Simon.

"He has to go through the jurisprudence," MacPhail said.

In other pitching news, Justin Duchscherer (left hip strain) told team officials he wasn't able to make his scheduled three-inning appearance in an extended spring training game Wednesday. The Orioles do not know what caused him to back out of the appearance, and MacPhail said the situation is "uncertain at this point."

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