Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, who hasn't played since incurring concussion symptoms after sliding headfirst into first base May 16, has been shut down from baseball activities for at least two more weeks.
Roberts was re-examined by sports concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and, though he can begin cardio and weight work soon, the leadoff man will not pick up a baseball for two more weeks, at the earliest.
"I wouldn't call it bad news," manager Buck Showalter said. "We knew the process that we were going to have. We'll follow the doctor's suggestions."
Roberts played in just 59 games last year because of myriad injuries, including a herniated disk in his back and a late-season concussion suffered when he hit himself in the helmet with a bat. The two-time All-Star has played in just 39 games this year and is batting .221 with three homers and 19 RBIs.
On the 15-day disabled list, he could join the team on this homestand for a few days, then return to Sarasota, Fla. Showalter has not ruled out Roberts' returning to the Orioles before the All-Star break.
Feeling a draft, Day 2
Baseball's annual amateur draft continued Tuesday with rounds two through 30, and the Orioles continued to load up on pitching. Including first-round pick Dylan Bundy, who was selected fourth overall Monday, 15 of the Orioles' first 30 picks were pitchers. Twelve of those are from colleges or junior colleges.
The Orioles chose 10 right-handers, five lefties, six outfielders, four third baseman, three shortstops and two catchers. Overall, they selected 21 college players (including several from junior colleges) and nine high schoolers.
"I like the guys we've got," amateur scouting director Joe Jordan said. "It takes a little time to absorb it all and get a look at it. But we got a lot of our targets, some gut-feels that our scouts were really high on and that we really like."
With their second-round pick, the Orioles selected Vanderbilt shortstop Jason Esposito, who projects as an above-average defensive third baseman because of his good hands and strong arm, Jordan said. Once thought to be a first-round pick, Esposito's status slipped a little this past year as questions arose about whether he would hit consistently in the majors. A 6-foot-2, 200-pound, right-handed hitter, Esposito batted .362 with eight homers and 55 RBIs in 60 games for Vanderbilt this year.
"He certainly looks the part. Big, strong kid," Showalter said. "I know going into the draft, before the year started, he was talked [about] kind of along with the kid at Rice [Anthony Rendon] as one of the better college [infielders]."
The Orioles then selected three consecutive college pitchers: right-hander Mike Wright of East Carolina, righty Kyle Simon of Arizona and lefty Matt Taylor of Middle Georgia (Junior) College.
Their next pick, in the sixth round (185th overall), was one of the club's more intriguing selections: high school third baseman-catcher Nick Delmonico, who was considered a second-round talent by Baseball America. The son of former Tennessee head coach Rod Delmonico, the 18-year-old is considered a difficult singing because he has committed to Georgia.
"He was on the board in the sixth round because of his bonus expectations," Jordan said. "But we said, 'Let's do this and see what we can work out this summer.'"
Other notable Orioles draft picks on the second day include: John Carroll graduate Kevin Hockaday, a 6-foot-3 third baseman, in the 14th round and Johnny Ruettiger, an outfielder from Arizona State, in the eighth round. His uncle is Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger of Notre Dame and movie fame.
Hardy leads off for first time
Shortstop J.J. Hardy asked catcher Matt Wieters where they were hitting in Tuesday's lineup, and Wieters told him sixth and seventh, respectively. As reporters approached Hardy, Wieters came rushing back and whispered, "You're batting leadoff."
"What?" Hardy said, laughing. "I'm glad he told me."
It was newsworthy because Hardy had not batted leadoff in 703 career games. He said he would keep the same approach, though he joked that he might just swing on the first pitch in his first at-bat.
"I'm not going to look at it any differently than any other at-bat," he said. "Maybe the first at-bat of the game might be a little bit different, but after that, it's just another at-bat."
He waited for the second pitch to make an impact, hitting his fifth homer of the season and, of course, the first leadoff home run of his career.
Showalter said he decided to bat Hardy first "out of necessity." Robert Andino and Felix Pie also have hit leadoff in Roberts' absence, but neither was in Tuesday's lineup.
"We have kind of pieced that spot together until we get Brian back. And that's probably the least disruptive to the rest of the group," Showalter said of Hardy's leading off. "And he is swinging the bat well. We don't have really a conventional guy."
Scott in left field