It was Friday afternoon, April 9 and the Orioles were playing Toronto in their home opener. It was 55 degrees at game time and 48,891 filled the Camden Yards stands.
And Brian Roberts was in the O’s lineup.
He re-injured his back that day sliding into second base on a successful steal in the bottom of the first. He later scored, but soon after came out of the game.
He has not been seen in the O’s lineup since.
That changes tonight, when Roberts officially comes off the DL to bat first and play second base vs. Minnesota.
“These guys are probably exhausted and it’s like Opening Day for me. I’m looking forward to just getting out there and playing, it’s been a long time. Just excited to be back on the field.
“I just told them I was ready and at that point it was their decision. They knew I wanted to play, but obviously they also have the best interests of myself and other guys on the team as well. I think they just had to weigh those options.”
After going 14 for 29 with three doubles and three RBI in eight injury-rehab games between Bowie and the Gulf Coast League, Roberts got the news he wanted this afternoon.
He was finally back in the O’s lineup.
He says there is no real uneasiness or concern as he gets ready to take the field tonight.
“No, not really. There are obviously things I still haven’t done. But, I’m not too worried about going out there in the game and doing the things I normally do. I may make some adjustments, we’ll see how it goes.”
Roberts went 2 for 14 with a run scored and a double in those first four games of the year back in April.
He may wind up spending some time as a designated hitter as gets phased back to regular duty. While that didn’t appeal to him during his three-day stay at Bowie, he’ll DH for the O’s if it comes to that.
“I probably wouldn’t mind DH’ing here as much as I did in Bowie. You just have to sit in the dugout (there) and get stiff. In the big leagues, at least you can go in and ride a bike or take some swings off a tee or in the cage and stay in the flow of the game more.
“I haven’t DH’d here in so long, I don’t even remember what it’s like. But it’s not that great in Bowie.
“But anytime you can get on the field and some at bats and do something to help the team, it’s better than sitting on the bench.”
Roberts went 8 for 15 in five games with the GCL O’s and 6 for 14 in three games this week at Bowie with two doubles and 3 RBI.