The strained abdominal muscle that forced Brian Roberts out of Friday's home opener has improved enough that it's no longer a concern for him. His lower back, however, continues to disrupt the first month of his season and leave a gaping hole atop the order.
Roberts received another epidural yesterday to ease the discomfort in his lower back. He's been told to rest before being re-examined by a specialist in three days.
"Initially, I came out of the game because of my stomach, but the doctors think on my slide I probably hyperextended my back a little bit," said Roberts, who dived into second and exited after one inning. "Your body goes into that position naturally when you dive or slide. I must have pinched the nerve again where my disk is and it caused me a lot of discomfort on Saturday night. Sunday, we just decided to go the whole year like this wasn't really going to do anybody any good, and not knowing from day to day how you're going to feel. So hopefully the shot, maybe a couple weeks off, will let that nerve really calm down and let the inflammation calm down.
"I pushed it in spring training because I really wanted to play. I had the one epidural and we went a little faster - I probably made them go faster than they wanted to, but I wanted to see if I could get out there and make it work because I really thought we had a good team and I wanted to be out there and be a part of it. But now it's time to probably do the prudent thing and get well 100 percent so when I do come back, I can play every day the rest of the way."
Roberts doesn't have a timetable beyond Friday's visit to Dr. Lee Riley at Johns Hopkins.
"We'll basically go four or five days without doing anything and then obviously I'll take it a little slower than we did the first time," he said. "Now, whether that means 15 days or it means 25 days, I don't know. I really don't. The hard part is, there's no way to simulate going out there and running full speed and sliding head first or making a diving play in the field, so we're going to try to do everything we can to at least find out if the nerve has calmed down enough for me to really be able to go out there and do that."
Stealing a base was the final test for Roberts, as he noted before last Tuesday's season-opener in St. Petersburg.
"It takes a toll on your body," he said, "and obviously when you're already injured and you're dealing with things that are already inflamed or can be easily aggravated, it makes it that much more difficult. But the doctors seem to believe that once it gets calmed down, it should be fine. We're just going to have to take the proper amount of time to do that this time."
Roberts will have to put April behind him and move forward.
"What I keep looking toward is, if it's 140 games, it's 140 games," he said. "That's better than going every other day not knowing how you're going to feel the next day or if you're going to be able to go to bed after you do something. Let's just get it well and hopefully be able to contribute a lot in those 140 games."
On the bright side, his strained abdominal muscle is better.
"That won't be an issue by the time I get back," he said.