B-Rob out at least 15 days, probably longer

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The Orioles officially placed second baseman Brian
on the 15-day disabled list Monday afternoon with a strained
abdomen muscle. But he could be out much longer than that given that Roberts
also received an epidural in his back and will have to rest for at least 4-5
days before resuming any baseball-related activities.

Roberts underwent an MRI on Monday afternoon and the
test revealed there was no further structural damage than the team originally
thought. However, Dave Trembley readdressed the media and said that team
doctors believe Roberts re-irritated his back with his slide into second.

That back issue is what originally sidelined Roberts
this spring. He suffered a herniated disc in his lower back during offseason
workouts in Arizona and only had 19 at bats before the regular season started.

Still, Roberts and the team pronounced him to be in
playing shape and the second baseman was starting in his fourth straight game
Friday when he injured his abdomen while sliding into the bag on a successful
attempt to steal second. The O’s leadoff hitter, Roberts walked to open
Friday’s game, and the impact of the bag hitting his midsection is what is
believed to have caused the muscle strain. Roberts said he immediately felt the
strain, and after scoring the game’s first run, he did not return.

While Trembley originally stood firm in his stance
that Roberts’ back and abdomen injuries were not related, it now appears that
the two  have intersected. Monday’s epidural was Roberts’ second shot. he
got his first epidural on March 15 when he flew to Baltimore to see back
specialist Dr. Lee Riley. 

“What he communicated to us was it was going to
be 5, or 6 or 7 days [before he was ready],” Trembely said of Roberts.
“We felt this early in the year instead of going that route, let’s just
back it up and go the 15 days and get it cleared up totally.”

A dynamic table-setter for the top of the Orioles
lineup, Roberts hit .283 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .451 slugging
percentage in 159 games last season. The 32-year-old hit 16 homers with 79 RBIs
and a franchise-record 56 doubles. The latter number set the all-time
single-season mark for two-baggers in a season by a switch-hitter. 

Infielder Justin Turner was recalled from Triple-A
Norfolk to take the open spot on the roster, but the team will likely use
veterans Julio Lugo and Ty Wigginton to fill Roberts’ role. The Orioles
acquired Lugo during the last week of Spring Training in the event Roberts’
back acted up, but Trembley said the job will not be Lugo’s alone.

“It won’t be a tryout but there will be some
different lineups based on matchups, based on what we feel that particular guy
brings for that game,” Trembley said.

“Obviously it is a major loss. We are going to
have to pick up the pieces and fill in as best as we can. He is very valuable
to the club and the guy that sets the tone offensively. I don’t think you
replace it; you just try to do the best you can to fill in when he’s

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