More Roberts, more Lee

SARASOTA, Fla. - No sense ignoring Brian Roberts in this entry. He's been a constant presence, though Derrek Lee provided a slight distraction earlier today.

Roberts said his neck is "getting better every day." He received more treatment today to alleviate the soreness and also rode a stationary bike.

"It's definitely better than it was a couple days ago," he said. "It's the time of the year where you just want to get it completely gone before you go back out there again."

Asked whether he'd take the field tomorrow, Roberts replied, "I don't really try to guess about tomorrow. To tell you the truth, it probably hasn't really been my call. It's a group effort. Everybody's kind of collaborating to make the right decision. You don't want something that's two days to last 10 days. If one more day does you more good than harm, then you take one more day."

Asked to rate how he's feeling on a scale of one to 10, Roberts said, "If it was during the season, I'd be playing. Sometimes you play with a 10, sometimes you play with a two."

I've played with both, but let's move on.

Lee drove the ball to all fields during batting practice, though he didn't clear the fence in gusting winds. He didn't show any signs of discomfort from his surgically repaired right thumb.

"On the sweet spot, no pain," he said. "I hit a few off the end it didn't feel too good. Jam and it didn't feel too good. But other than that, not bad.

"I'll see how it feels in the morning. If it feels fine, I'll take more swings tomorrow. If it doesn't, I'll probably step back a little bit. So I'll just play it by ear."

Lee admitted that he had "a lot of nerves" before stepping into the cage for the first time.

"I've never had surgery. I didn't know how it was going to respond," he said. "I was a little anxious about it. I've got a lot of work to do, but it's a good first step."

Lee isn't slated to play in the first few exhibition games.

"It's still very early," he said, "but with that being said, you don't want to be too far behind. April 1 comes really quick. I understand I'm a little behind, but you don't want to fall too far behind."

Lee also talked about sitting in the clubhouse while Hall of Famer Frank Robinson addressed the team yesterday. Robinson made quite an impression on everyone.

"You're talking about one of the best hitters of all time," Lee said. "You could have heard a pin drop in this room. He had everyone in this whole room's attention. He made some great points. Him being an ex-Oriole, he has a lot of passion for this club. I thought it was great that Buck (Showalter) brought him in. It was a great message. Any time you get around someone who has had as much success as he has, you're not very smart if you don't pay attention to him and listen."

In case you missed this report, Alfredo Simon remains jailed in the Dominican Republic, but the victim's family has dropped its civil lawsuit.

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