Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, who had been in Sarasota, Fla., rehabbing from hip surgery, has rejoined the team and will travel with the O’s throughout the postseason.
“This is something that I’ve wanted to experience for a long time,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t take a genius to know it would feel a lot better on the field, but at the same time, I’m extremely happy for the organization and the city and the fans and the Angelos family and everyone who’s worked so hard through so many struggles the last 15 years to experience this.”
Roberts, who had surgery Aug. 2 to repair a labrum tear, said he’s taken a significant step in his rehab. On Monday he began running and doing leg strengthening exercises. He said he’s optimistic he can be ready by the beginning of spring training.
“That’s kind of your first major milestone,” Roberts said of running. “Everything is good. It’s going as smooth at it can go post-surgery. That’s definitely the goal and we have it laid out pretty well at this point.”
Roberts missed 13 months recovering from multiple concussions before returning June 12. His comeback lasted just 17 games before he was shelved with the hip injury.
Thome on playoff baseball in Baltimore
Designated hitter Jim Thome is the only player in the O’s clubhouse who has experienced the feel of a playoff game at Camden Yards.
The 42-year-old Thome was a member of a Cleveland Indians team that beat the Orioles in the 1997 American League Championship Series, the O’s most-recent playoff series. He also was on the Indians team that lost to the Orioles in the 1996 American League Division Series.
“Baltimore is a great baseball town. I’ve experienced it from the other side,” Thome said. “I think when you haven’t been there in a while the city is thirsting for a championship, and its fun to be on their side right now. Hey, let them have it.”
Around the horn
The American League wild-card game is scheduled to begin at 8:37 p.m. Friday and will be televised on TBS. ... Wilson Betemit will likely head to Sarasota after Wednesday’s game to begin hitting progression on his sore right wrist. ... Despite the fact that lefty Zach Britton hasn’t made a start since Sept. 15, manager Buck Showalter said he remains a possibility to start in the postseason. ... The Orioles' 1-0 win Tuesday was their first without a plate appearance with runners in scoring position since Sept. 14, 2008, when they beat the Minnesota Twins, 7-3. Nick Markakis and Oscar Salazar each homered twice in that game, and Lou Montanez also homered.