BOWIE, Md. - It was nice to see the familiar swing of Brian Roberts in the batting cage earlier today at Prince George’s Stadium. Roberts sprayed some line drives around the ballpark batting left and right-handed.
Richmond is starting a lefty tonight in Mike Kickham, who is 2-4 with an ERA of 4.04 and Roberts will leadoff and play second base for the Double-A Baysox.
Bowie manager Gary Kendall talked about the plan tonight for Roberts as he plays in his first game since May 16, 2011 when he was in the O’s lineup at Boston.
“Tonight the plan is for him to get a couple of at-bats,” Kendall said. “I was told two, and if he elects to play defense prior to getting a third at-bat he can do that. It is totally up to Brian. I will have Jonathan Schoop come in to replace him. That could change depending how he feels but I was told by Buck two at-bats. He gave us tomorrow’s plan but I’d rather address that after tonight’s game.”
Kendall said he had not heard of any limitations on Roberts when he takes the field tonight.
“I haven’t been told that,” he said. “As our third base coach, I am not going to gamble on anything crazy out there. I will talk to him prior to game time to see about putting him in motion (possibly stealing bases) and what he wants to do. But I haven’t been given any instructions from Baltimore (to limit anything we will do with him).”
Kendall said it was a great experience for his players to have Roberts even during batting practice today.
“Some of these guys have met him in Sarasota,” Kendall said. “He’s a good guy and a teacher and he leads by example. It is great to have him around. He contributes so much to our ballclub and the impact he makes not only on the field but in our community. So it’s nice to have him here and we are all pulling for him to get back out there. So anything we can do to help that process, that is what we are here to do.”
In some other Baysox news, right-handed pitcher Mike Wright, the Orioles’ third-round pick last year out of East Carolina, is expected to be promoted from Single-A Frederick to join the Baysox rotation and start here on Friday night.
Wright has gone 5-2 with an ERA of 2.91 over eight Frederick starts.
Lefty pitcher Jake Pettit, who has been on the DL with shoulder soreness since early this month, should rejoin the Baysox and get activated in time for Saturday’s game. Zach Britton is expected to start that game for the Baysox and Pettit, who is 3-0 with a 3.90 ERA, will likely follow him and pitch in relief that night.