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
“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
“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
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.”
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail on the Brian Roberts situation. Roberts is shut down until at least Tuesday and will get an MRI on Saturday. He saw a back specialist in Tampa on Saturday and has had several trigger injections to calm the spasms down.
[on the organization's level of concern]
We really don’t know. We are going to have to see how things play out. We are going to get some images, MRI images to compare where he was a year ago at this time from now 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.
[on whether the team would use Cesar Izturis as the starting 2B]
We will see. 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.
[on Roberts injury]
There’s nothing that we are aware of right now that’s potentially a huge issue as far as we can discern now. Maybe we will learn something different from the MRI. We will just go from there.
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.
[on how frustrating this injury is]
Id rather this not be an issue. As would Brian, as would we all. We’d rather this be way off the radar. But it’s back on the radar and we just have to deal with it.
[on the wind playing a role in his final line] “I did not think [Raul Ibanez's ball] was going to be a home run, but at the same time, you have to hit the ball well for to go out to center field. He put a good swing on it. I fell behind in the count and he was able to swing aggressively.” [on how he looks at spring results:] “You always look at the process. I look at spring the same as I do during the season. Evaluate pitches, see what you can do better. Today, I worked behind in the count. Obviously, last game I was 12 of 16 first-pitch strikes. Today, I was probably less than half to the hitters. When you get behind to good hitters, they take a more aggressive approach and can swing better, but you try to do the best you can. There’s pitches I’d take back, there’s some that I wouldn’t. The biggest pitch I didn’t like was walking [Shane] Victorino. Small things. You work on small things and make small adjustments and get better.” [on where he feels like he's at this spring] “I’m very happy. I like the way the ball feels coming out of my hand. The ability to throw all four pitches for strikes is a real positive.”
“It doesn’t factor into what I do. You always try to keep the ball down, so whether the wind’s blowing out or not, you try to get the ball to stay down and get ground balls.”
“I always look at the execution. Today, my fastball was as good as it’s been all spring. That’s what you look at. Curveball was good. And for the most part I had good action on the fastball, and that’s what you look at. When they hit a ball hard, you try to break down why it was. Today, I attribute it to working behind in the count and them being aggressive at the plate.”
[on the wind playing a role in his final line]
“I did not think [Raul Ibanez's ball] was going to be a home run, but at the same time, you have to hit the ball well for to go out to center field. He put a good swing on it. I fell behind in the count and he was able to swing aggressively.”
[on how he looks at spring results:] “You always look at the process. I look at spring the same as I do during the season. Evaluate pitches, see what you can do better. Today, I worked behind in the count. Obviously, last game I was 12 of 16 first-pitch strikes. Today, I was probably less than half to the hitters. When you get behind to good hitters, they take a more aggressive approach and can swing better, but you try to do the best you can. There’s pitches I’d take back, there’s some that I wouldn’t.
The biggest pitch I didn’t like was walking [Shane] Victorino. Small things. You work on small things and make small adjustments and get better.”
[on where he feels like he's at this spring]
“I’m very happy. I like the way the ball feels coming out of my hand. The ability to throw all four pitches for strikes is a real positive.”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig issued the following statement today:
“All of us at Major League Baseball are thinking of our many dear friends and colleagues in Japan today. Major League Baseball extends its deepest condolences to all those who have been affected, and we have the families and friends of our players as well as our peers and business partners in our thoughts.
“We have been in communication with the members of our office in Tokyo. Through our shared love of baseball for more than a century, Japan is a particularly special place to us, and we are deeply saddened by the disaster that has confronted the nation.
“Major League Baseball will certainly provide aid with the relief efforts in the days and weeks ahead. We will do everything we can to help Japan.”
*Brian Roberts is not in today’s lineup and manger Buck Showatler said yesterday that he won’t make Saturday’s road trip. So Sunday’s home game would be the earliest Roberts -who has been slowed by back spasms – could get in. The team is also thinking about getting some more testing done on his back.
Showalter also said today that Roberts is not any better and won’t work out today. (He hit and took the field to practice yesterday.) Asked about the level of frustration concerning Roberts, Showalter said: “Not with him personally. Never there, nothing you can ever do
about that physically. But I don’t think we are at that point yet where we are
concerned about him opening the season.”
*Cesar Izturis is playing second base instead. Izturis rolled his left ankle diving back to the bag during Monday’s game and took a few days off after that.
*Derrek Lee said the plan is just rest for a few days and hope to back off his right wrist, which was diagnosed with tendinitis. Lee said he’s never had tendinitis before, but isn’t frustrated. He’s just trying to be patient and get to where he’s 100 percent before he’s playing in spring games. Lee also thinks he has plenty of time to get some at-bats and doesn’t think being ready by Opening Day will be a problem.
*The Orioles will make their first round of cuts today, with several players already packing up their stuff this morning to head over to the Minor League side. Among them are Pedro Florimon Jr., Tyler Henson, Luis Lebron, Adam Donachie and Caleb Joseph. Showalter said expect 13 or 14 total.
*Koji Uehara’s wife and child are in Baltimore and Uehara said he’s emailed with his extended family in Japan and they are physically OK. Still, he has not spoken directly to them so he’s still a little worried given the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami .
Here’s the Orioles lineup. Will post the Phillies when I get it.
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Luke Scott, 1B
Randy Winn, LF
Matt Wieters, C
Cesar Izturis, 2B
Jeremy Guthrie, SP
Also scheduled to pitch for the Orioles: Jason Berken, Rick VandenHurk
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Raul Ibanez LF
Ryan Howard 1B
Ross Gload RF
Delwyn Young DH
Jeff Larish 3B
Brian Schneider C
Pete Orr 2B
Cliff Lee SP
Also scheduled to pitch: Edde Bonine, Antonio Bastardo, Andrew Carpenter, Danys Baez, Brad Lidge.
Orioles starter Brad Bergesen, who entered camp projected to
be in the back end of the team’s rotation, hasn’t done much to help cause.
Bergesen, who allowed three runs over three innings in his
last start, didn’t make it out of the third against the Pirates Thursday night.
Instead he exited after 2 1/3innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six
hits and two walks, and falling well short of his slated four-inning mark.
“It’s a small adjustment, I just have to make it,” said
Bergesen, who admitted he started to fly open in his delivery, causing the ball
to flatten out and the Pirates to pound the ball down the first base line.
“Just a little more deception. Today was just
bad. When I got into trouble, I didn’t make pitches. Lesson learned.”
An already-quick worker on the
mound, Bergesen tried to speed things up too much on Thursday to try to regain
form, despite the best efforts of catcher Craig Tatum and pitching coach Mark
Connor. But while his early spring
starts haven’t gone smoothly, Bergesen -who had two separate stints in Triple-A
twice last season – doesn’t think it’s time to panic.
“For me, it’s way too early,”
Bergesen said when asked if he was concerned about losing what seemed to be a
solid grip on a rotation spot.
“Obviously, I’m a competitor. I never like
going out there and having an outing like that, but at the same time, it’s
early, I’m still working on things. Outings like this are unacceptable, but I’m
not getting down on myself or turning into a mental head case by any means. I
just know what I need to work on.”
*Koji Uehara threw on flat ground (out in the outfield actually) on one of the back fields at the team’s complex in Sarasota.
*Brian Roberts also worked out and when asked if he could be ready to play Tommie, manger Buck Showalter didn’t rule out the possibility. It will depend on how Roberts feel, but he’s definitely not going to Saturday’s game in Kissimmee. (Chris Tillman and Zach Britton will both pitch four innings in that road contest, with Tillman starting.)
*The O’s will make their first round of cuts in the next few days with Minor League camp starting and Spring Training approaching the midway marker.
*Garrett Atkins is starting at third base for the Pirates tonight. Atkins signed a Minor League deal with them over the winter and is hoping to break camp as a bench player.
*Cesar Izturis, who rolled his left ankle during Monday’s game, could have been used today during the regular season but the O’s won’t push it. Expect him to be available for Friday.
*Prior to Sunday’s game against the Tigers, (which Brian Matusz will start), Justin Duchscherer will throw three innings in a controlled 15-pitch-per-frame setting. On the other side of the game will be a trio of lefties — Mark Hendrickson, Michael Gonzalez and Clay Rapada. They’ll face left-handed hitters only in what’s expected to be a six-inning contest.
*The plan for Derrek Lee (who is dealing with tendinitis in his wrist) has obviously been set back now. Before he can get into a game, he will have to work up to taking daily BP again. Lee has been doing just tee work and soft toss.
Finally, here’s the Pirates lineup. They’ve elected to not use a DH:
Jose Tabata LF
Matt Diaz RF
Neil Walker 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Ronny Cedeno SS
Gorkys Hernandez CF
Jason Jaramillo C
Here’s the Orioles lineup for tonight’s game, which is in Bradenton and starts at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Adam Jones CF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Jake Fox LF
Nolan Reimold RF
Brandon Snyder 1B
Craig Tatum C
Ryan Adams 2B
Brad Bergesen SP
Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta said Wednesday’s start was a definite improvement over his first outing in Lakeland. Arrieta tossed three innings of one-run baseball against the Twins, allowing only a second-inning solo shot to Twins infielder Luke Hughes.
Arrieta, who also struck out two, was able to work efficiently and a much-improved tempo, which is something the club has stressed. Here’s what he had to say…
[on how he felt}
“I’m getting more comfortable in game situations, guys in the box. The atmosphere of just being more of a big league setting. Just getting more comfortable around in the zone with all my pitches. Breaking balls were a lot better today, a little bit more crisp. Just everything felt better, as I expected it to, my second time out. I only expect it to get better as spring goes on.”
[on being economical]
“[I threw] first pitch strikes and I put those hitters on the defense. Making them feel a little more uncomfortable in the box is my objective. [I] pounded the zone with the heater, more so in a spring training setting than in the regular season.
Really, [I] just wanted to establish the fastball. That’s, throughout Spring Training, that’s going to my primary objective is to establish that pitch. And work everything else off that. When you are working first-pitch strikes the rate of swing is a lot more frequently. That was the result today.”
[on being able to relax and not do to much given that he's projected to be in the rotation]
“Yeah. I don’t think that [worrying is] something you need in your mind. Especially when you are going out there and trying to get your work in. I’m really not concerned with that, I’m pretty confident I’m going to be on the team. I said that from Day 1. All I want to do out here is get ready for April 1, 3, 4 whatever it will be. Whatever my start will be. I just want to make sure I’m prepared for that. Today was a good example of the preparation needed to be ready for that Opening Day.”
[on the Hughes pitch]
“It was a 1-0 fastball. I don’t think you could throw it anymore center cut. Just trying to continue to get ahead, pounding the fastball. I might have gone with something else during the year, but right now my concern is just to establish that pitch. You know, he hit it out, put a good swing on it, but you just got to move on and get the next guy and that’s what I did.”
Derrek Lee will get a precautionary MRI on his wrist at 4 p.m. today, and manager Buck Showalter confirmed that if Lee isn’t ready come Opening Day, it will be Luke Scott at first. It’s important to note the team isn’t ready to go there just yet and the feeling is that the MRI won’t reveal anything other than tendinitis.
Scott has been taking early infield work and got his second start at first base on Wednesday.
“Obviously, we’ve seen a lot of other guys at first base — Jake (Fox),
Josh (Bell), (Brandon) Snyder,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, but
yeah, [Luke is] probably the direction we’d go. Don’t hold me to that. I’ve
certainly thought about it.”