I usually focus on the starting pitcher, but Brian Roberts is stealing Jason Berken’s thunder.
We have plenty of witnesses. Ed Smith Stadium is packed again.
Roberts ranged far to his left to glove Victor Martinez’s grounder and throw to first for the second out of the inning, but that wasn’t his finest play. He made a diving stop and throw to rob Kevin Youkilis of a hit and send Berken back to the dugout..
Most important, Roberts quickly rose to his feet without a trace of discomfort in his back.
Roberts lined the first pitch from Red Sox starter Jon Lester into right field for a double, sliding hard into the bag to beat the throw from J.D. Drew. Again, he popped right up as if the back never had been an issue.
Two batters later, Roberts dived into the bag to avoid being doubled off second on Nick Markakis’ liner to shortstop Marco Scutaro.
He sure looks ready for Opening Day.
Update: The Red Sox scored twice off Berken in the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. Mike Lowell had an RBI double and Josh Reddick lifted a sacrifice fly. Berken has thrown 45 pitches (31 strikes) in two innings. Manager Dave Trembley set the limit at 50, but Berken is warming up for the third.
Shameless plug alert: I’m doing an in-game hit with MASN’s Amber Theoharis in the bottom of the fifth inning. I’ll apologize in advance for the sloppy attire.