Anthony Amobi: Are Roberts' injuries an ominous sign?

It's been a frustrating past two seasons for Brian Roberts. For the most part, he's one the most prominent faces of the franchise and the longest-tenured Oriole on the roster.

However, he's not played much due to back issues, concussions and various illnesses that have popped up. It's been a hard road for the second baseman and I'm sure Roberts must be far angrier by the state of his own affairs than even the most ardent Orioles fan.

At the moment, he is on the seven-day disabled list with concussion symptoms. According to various reports, Roberts has not resumed physical activity for baseball and may not be ready to play as he is due to come off the disabled list today.

Roberts mentioned to the media over the weekend that he's not sure when he'll play again. It's like there's been one thing or another keeping him off the field recently.

Simply put, the Orioles need him healthy to improve their offensive output this season. It was no secret that when Roberts was healthy last season, he played a role with the impressive run by the Orioles in the final two months.

The team really needs what Roberts brings to table - nothing against Robert Andino or Felix Pie - as right now, the offense lacks the intangibles that Roberts has.

He's obviously one of the better hitters on the team, a stolen base threat and gets on base at a decent clip. Without him in the lineup, the Orioles are a different squad.

At the moment, I can't think of anyone on the roster who has his tools or that could fill his shoes.

However, one does have to wonder if Roberts is indeed in his decline phase.

Considering that Roberts is in the second year of a contract extension - a four-year deal that runs through 2013 - will injuries and little ailments that have flared up recently keep coming up again and again? I would think members of the front office would have those concerns at least in the back of their minds.

I know Roberts is a guy who plays hard and really cares; however, at this point, how effective of a player can be he for the rest of his career?

The worst-case scenario in the years to come is that Roberts is an expensive second baseman, tied down to a long-term contract, who can't stay healthy long enough to play on the diamond.

Let's hope at 33, the issues that Roberts has had for the past few seasons are just a bump on the road.

Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O's appear as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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