SARASOTA, Fla. — Second baseman Brian Roberts was standing in the Orioles clubhouse
Wednesday morning chatting with his teammates with a bat in his hands. But the scene wasn’t nearly as optimistic as it appeared, as Roberts confirmed holding the bat is pretty much all he can do right now.
After receiving an epidural in his back in Baltimore on Monday, Roberts is resting until he consults with Dr. Lee Riley of John Hopkins either Wednesday night or Thursday, to determine the next course of action.
Roberts wasn’t sure if the epidural would be a series of shots or just one, and also didn’t know -until he talked with Riley – when he would be cleared to start doing any sort of workout.
He participated in the team’s infield practice before leaving for Baltimore on Sunday, and prior to his visit Roberts insisted the trip to see Riley was not a setback, but a more aggressive approach in treating the slightly herniated disc in his lower back. The injury was suffered during offseason workouts at the Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona. After a megadose pack of medication gave him an upset stomach earlier in the month, Roberts was put on a different medication for the days leading up to his visit with Roberts.
While he initially had progressed to taking full swings, the inflammation in Roberts back hasn’t gotten any better, leaving the Orioles to come up with a more aggressive approach.
Now, the club will wait and see how Roberts responds to the epidural.
“You have your moments [of going crazy from all the waiting], but you try to be patient,” Roberts said. “[There's] not really anything you can do about it so you try to stay positive and look on the bright side.”
Roberts planned on spending some time on Wednesday watching pitches in the cages and maintained that he is still optimistic that he will be ready for April 6’s Opening Day.
“Not to the point yet where I think any other way,” Roberts said. “But obviously every day that goes by it gets closer and closer. Certainly we have a timeframe that we’re looking at, where you’re going to have to go and start doing things, [but] we’re not there yet. Until we’re there and it passes I’ll certainly remain optimistic.”
Manager Dave Trembley believes a regular position like Roberts needs about 20-25 at-bats in Spring Training to be ready for the regular season. But if Roberts is cleared in the coming days to resume hitting, Trembley won’t try to put the second baseman on an expedited plan.
“You have to do with Brian like you did with all the other regulars,” Trembley said. “His first game will be two at-bats, five innings and work him in that way.”
Trembley did note that with Wednesday’s opening of the Orioles Minor League Spring Training games, Roberts could get some extra swings in those games, with a possible plan to hit every other inning.
“The first thing we need to do is we need to get him on the field then I can develop a plan accordingly,” Trembley said. “And I won’t know that until hopefully [Thursday].”