Roberts: this is the week (end), perhaps

If Brian Roberts can get into a game this week -something the
Orioles and the second baseman himself believe is possible – he would have
enough spring left to be ready for April’s 6 Opening Day.

“If I can play by the end of the week or the weekend I should
be fine, ” Roberts told me this morning in Sarasota. “As long as there are no setbacks after that.”

A critical sparkplug atop the Orioles lineup, Roberts took
full swings from both sides of the plate during batting practice on Sunday and
Tuesday, taking Monday’s scheduled off day with the rest of the team.  Roberts had had a rocky road in recovering from
the herniated disc in his lower back, but acknowledged 
that he is feeling better.

“I don’t really know what has helped and what hasn’t,” said
Roberts, who went through several different megadose packs of medication before
flying to Baltimore to see Dr. Lee Riley for an epidural on March 15.

“I know it feels better. I feel better than I did 10 days
ago. There’s things that still feel the exact same, but things that feel a
little better.  So, as long as [the
epidural] helped me hit that’s all that really matters.”

Roberts said the goal is to make his Spring Training debut
this week, a sentiment manager Dave Trembley echoed to reporters in Jupiter,
Fla, where the Orioles were slated to play the Florida Marlins.

“It would be nice to get him in a game at the end of the
week,” Trembley said.  “But I’ll have to
check with the medical people and see what he says.”

Baltimore is hosting three Grapefruit League contests this
week, facing the New York Yankees on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET, the Minnesota
Twins Friday at 7:05 pm ET and the Red Sox Saturday at 1:05 p.m . ET.  Sunday’s game is against Toronto in nearby
Clearwater, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET.

How badly do the O’s miss Roberts? 

entered Sunday’s game last in batting average (.241), runs scored (72) and on-base
percentage (.301) in the Grapefruit League.

Kevin Millwood might of said it best. I was doing some season preview stuff with him this morning and asked if he was concerned about the team’s offense.

He said he wasn’t worried about the team’s spring struggles at the plate, noting that “it’ll all change when Roberts comes back.”

Given the Orioles tough first-half schedule, 21 of their first 60 games are against the Red Sox or Yankees, having Roberts suited up on Opening Day would be a huge boost.

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