Roberts shut down, to get MRI

SARASOTA, Fla. — Brian Roberts will be shut down until at least Tuesday, as
the Orioles second baseman -who saw a local back specialist on Friday-
continues to be plagued by back spasms.

Manager Buck Showalter said Roberts has had several “trigger injections” to
help calm the spasms, and there are plans for an MRI on Saturday. Roberts will
not participate in any baseball activities in the meantime as the team is still
trying to figure out what they are dealing with.

When asked about the organization’s level of concern regarding Roberts, who
played in just 59 games last season because of a herniated disc in his lower
back, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said it’s too early to
tell.

“We are going to get some images, MRI images to compare where he was a year
ago at this time from now,” MacPhail said. 
“Even in my brief conversation with Brian he indicated it wasn’t as bad
as it was a year ago.

“But we are just going to have to play it by ear. We’ve got three weeks
before we open, we are just going to have to see how events play out.”

Roberts has been not played in a game since Monday night, when he bunted in
his first at-bat and dove headfirst into the bag, a play that he has maintained
did not cause the spasms. Roberts said his back started acting up several days
prior to that during team stretch.

“There’s nothing that we are aware of right now that’s potentially a huge
issue as far as we can discern now,” MacPhail said. “Maybe we will learn
something different from the MRI.

Obviously bunting the ball and diving into the bag didn’t really help
things. So we are just going to have to deal with it over time.”

A dynamic presence atop the Orioles lineup, Roberts health has been in
question most of camp, although the team remains optimistic he will be ready
for Opening Day.

“We are at a stage
still in Spring Training where time is on our side a little bit right now,” Showalter
said of Roberts, who was also sidelined earlier this spring with a minor neck
issue.

“I’d rather this not be an issue. As would Brian, as would
we all,” MacPhail said.  “We’d rather
this be way off the radar. But it’s back on the radar and we just have to deal
with it.”

Roberts’ back issues in 2010 provided ample reason for the
Orioles to resign Cesar Izturis this winter and add a wealth of middle
infielders to this year’s camp. When asked if the organization felt comfortable
if they had to move forward with Izturis -who hit .230 with one homer and 28
RBIs in 150 games last season – as their every day second baseman, MacPhail
said it was a bridge they would cross when they come to it.

“We will see,” he said. “I don’t think we need to jump into
any conclusions. We got three weeks go to before we open. We got plenty of time
where if we have to make adjustments, we can make adjustments.”

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