BALTIMORE – National television. Pennant race. Brian Roberts comeback. What could be more natural?
After nearly three months away from the Orioles, Brian Roberts tries again. After being limited to just 118 games in the last four seasons due to two concussions, a back injury, hip surgery and now surgery on his right hamstring, Roberts is back.
He injured the hamstring in the ninth inning of the season’s third game, and he returns batting ninth as the Orioles’ designated hitter.
After four games at Norfolk, when he batted .231, here he is.
“I'm as ready as you can feel after being at Norfolk. It was good just to get on the field, get your legs under you and get some at-bats. It's certainly a different atmosphere there than here, but you jump back. It might take you a day or two to get used to it again, but that's part of it,” Roberts said.
He had a scare on Friday night. After manager Ron Johnson took him out of the game because of wet conditions, he tripped coming down the stairs to the clubhouse.
“It definitely scared me at first but it's just one of those things that happens,” Roberts said.
The Orioles have just started the second half of the season, and after all the challenges he’s faced, Roberts is eager to get back. He’s in the final year of a four-year, $40 million contract.
As manager Buck Showalter points out, “We’ve been down this road some.”
With Ryan Flaherty playing well at second and Alexi Casilla in the mix as well, Roberts’ goals are relatively modest.
“He just wants to come up and contribute and be a part of getting where we want to go,” Showalter said.
With potentially three second baseman around, that could create an issue for some.
“I don’t consider them problems. I consider them good things that are going on. I’ll continue to look for ways to keep everybody involved,” Showalter said.
Roberts, who will play second base on Tuesday in Chicago, is making no promises about the rest of the season.
“I don't look past today. I've learned enough in my career to realize that I'm going to enjoy today, play hard today. It's not in my hands to say I will be out there every single inning for the rest of the year. None of us have control over that,” Roberts said.
“It’s been one of those things where there’ve been many days where you’re wondering: Am I still supposed to be doing this or can I still do this or is it still worth it to do this sometimes even?
“But I felt like that’s never been my personality to quit until I felt it was really, really time to do that. I haven’t felt that yet and you just try to… For me, it was just a reliance on the people around me and my faith.”