Encouraging news on Roberts, Duchscherer, Lee, Uehara

SARASOTA, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter provided a quick health update during batting practice. It never gets old.

Showalter said the MRI on Brian Roberts’ back didn’t show anything new. He still believes that Roberts, who’s visiting a back specialist this morning, could be ready for the April 1 opener.

“I’m going to speak to Robby at lunch time,” Showalter said. “I know talking to Richie (Bancells) that the MRI was nothing new there to speak of, so that’s good news. Hopefully, we’re progressing toward him getting back on the field.”

The MRA on Justin Duchscherer’s left hip didn’t reveal any damage. Duchscherer will be shut down for two or three more days to allow the dye to clear out.

“Nothing new there from what we knew about coming in, so hopefully he can progress back to the mound,” Showalter said.

“The bottom line is, he understands his hip better than anybody, what he may be able to pitch with and what he may not be able to pitch with, and we’re kind of in between that. It isn’t an exact thing, but if he can get to a point where he’s comfortable with it...if not, we’ll have to decide what we’re going to do then.”

Derrek Lee hit soft tosses today. He wanted to take live batting practice, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

“He’s probably not real happy with us because we didn’t let him go much further than that. He wanted to hit live today,” Showalter said.

Koji Uehara will throw off a mound again tomorrow.

“Koji feels good,” Showalter said.

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