Roberts out again

SARASOTA, Fla. -Brian Roberts will not participate in Thursday’s workout for the second consecutive day, as the Orioles second baseman continues to be sidelined by neck stiffness.

Roberts maintained Thursday morning that he is not overly concerned about his neck, and an X-ray on Wednesday came back negative.  He is aiming to return to spring workouts Friday or Saturday.

The neck issued stemmed from how Roberts slept on Tuesday night, and he sat out of baseball activities Wednesday morning in what was described as a precautionary measure unrelated to his back.

“We’ve probably all had a stiff neck at some point in our life right?” Roberts said Wednesday. “I’m not overly concerned.”

“[It was a] muscle spasm. Nothing other than that,” manager Buck Showalter said of Roberts. “They didn’t see any disk issues or anything.”

Roberts has been dismissive about the concern that any injury could be an ominous sign of his back flaring up. Roberts played in only 59 games last season after suffering a herniated disk in his lower back during last winter’s workouts in Arizona.

“I understand there’s about a two-feet difference from where my back hurt and where my neck hurt,” Roberts said. “So I’m pretty sure they are not related.

“We tried to get it calmed down at least, so whenever it does feel fine, I’ll go out there. It’s the third day of Spring Training.”

Still, any injury to Roberts, regardless of the severity, is cause for immediate concern for the Orioles. The team’s offense struggled mightily without its leadoff hitter, and Roberts worked out hard this offseason to report to camp healthy.

The Orioles also re-signed Cesar Izturis as utility player for insurance, and inked Minor League deals with Nick Green and Brendan Harris to give them options in the event that Roberts can’t stay healthy. Robert Andino, who is competing for a bench spot, can also play second base.

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