ABERDEEN, Md - Wearing a blue No. 17 Aberdeen IronBirds jersey, but using his specially-designed Orioles batting helmet, Brian Roberts moved to the plate here a few moments ago for his first-ever at-bat in a New York-Penn League game.
Starting what he hopes will be just a two-game rehab assignment before he can rejoin the Orioles, Roberts led off the last of the first drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch. He scored moments later when Creede Simpson ripped an RBI double into the gap in left-center.
Roberts swung just once, fouling off a 3-2 pitch against Vermont right-hander J.C. Menna before he walked on the next pitch.
Roberts has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a labral tear in his right hip.
I asked Roberts if the Orioles having a playoff shot altered how he looked at his injury situation and led him to try to return to play rather than have surgery.
“I can’t say for sure one way or the other,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I would have opted for surgery one way or the other. I can’t say that. Anytime they give you an option of trying to not have surgery, that is your best bet. So I’m not sure we would have done anything necessarily different. It just adds one more dimension to it. I don’t think it would have changed anything.”
Tonight is the first time Roberts has ever played for Short-Season A Aberdeen. The IronBirds first season was 2002 and Roberts made his major league debut on June 14, 2001. When he was coming up through the O’s farm system, the IronBirds were not in existence yet.
The IronBirds, by the way, have won a season-high five consecutive games and lead Vermont 2-0 after the first inning here at Ripken Stadium.
Roberts’ second at-bat: Roberts struck out on a 3-2 pitch with two men on and none out in the second. Roberts has seen 14 pitches, swinging at three, with two foul balls and striking out in the second.
Roberts’ third at-bat: Roberts popped out to third in the fourth and so is 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored so far tonight. The IronBirds lead 2-0 through four innings.
Roberts’ fourth at-bat: Roberts flied out to deep center on a 2-2 pitch to end the sixth inning. He has certainly seen a lot of pitches tonight. Through three at-bats and one walk he has seen 25 pitches.
Roberts’ fifth at-bat: Batting right-handed for the first time in the game, he struck out on a 1-2 pitch to begin the bottom of the ninth.
So Roberts tonight went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, a fly out and pop out. He walked and scored a run in the first inning.
The final tonight is Vermont 7, Aberdeen 2 as the Birds five-game win streak ends.
Here are some of Roberts’ comments from before today’s game: