Speaking about his possible return to the Orioles a few minutes ago in the O's clubhouse, Brian Roberts said he thinks he can begin a minor league rehab assignment sometime within the next few weeks.
"I would hope so, yeah. I don't have a day, but I would like to think so, yeah," Roberts said of that time frame.
He said his long road back from concussion symptoms may soon lead him back to the field and he can now finally see a finish line to this process.
"Yeah, definitely," Roberts said. "For a long time, I wasn't sure where the finish line was and I certainly didn't see it. When you do get a glimpse of that, it's nice and you do get a breath of fresh air and some added momentum.
"Sure. There were a lot of times in the last year that I had no idea if I'd ever play baseball again. So, in some ways it'd be a huge achievement or triumph just to get back out on that field. It's something I've thought a lot about. When that day happens it will be, not necessarily something I'm proud of, but in some ways I've continued to fight. There were a lot of times I could have easily shut it down."
Roberts was asked if he will be on the next road trip with the Orioles or if a minor league rehab assignment could begin as soon as that next trip starts a week from today.
"I don't know yet," Roberts said. "It has been such a moving target. I've used day-by-day a lot, and we have had conversations about possibilities, but we just haven't made any of those final decisions yet. There is always a possibility of multiple scenarios playing out."
When he does return to play, Roberts expects that it will start with a minor league rehab assignment with an O's affiliate and not in Sarasota, Fla., at extended spring training.
"I would most likely go right into a minor league rehab (assignment). Sarasota is probably not going to do me a ton of good. My assumption is we'd probably go right into a rehab," he said.
"The biggest key is to start getting real at-bats in a real atmosphere. Sarasota, you know, there is not much of an atmosphere there. Plus you are facing 18-year-olds that may have no clue where the ball is going. That is probably the last thing I need right now and we are proabably looking for an environment that is as close to real game action as we can be."
Roberts was asked how important getting actual game at-bats will be to him when that time comes.
"Mike Bordick doesn't have the stuff that Strasburg had yesterday," he said with a laugh. "I don't know. I don't think I'll know until I get out there. I've taken probably thousands of swings off coaches without a huge environment around. I have been in the environment, I haven't played in the environment and had the adrenaline rush and all those things I will have to get used to again. My doctor said I will probably go through the ups and downs that first week or two of getting back into it."
Roberts also talked today about how impressed he has been watching Robert Andino playing where he used to play. Does he feel he has to win a job back when he returns to the Orioles?
"You know what, Robert has a done a phenomenal job. It's been fun to watch him play and I've been excited to see him. Our team would be not where we are right now if he hadn't played the way he has. That speaks volumes for the depth of our organization and how we have made great strides," Roberts said.
"When it comes to winning my job back. Whatever Buck wants me to do I'll do. I'd love for this team to be playing in October, and if I'm sitting on the bench then, I guess, so be it. I'd like to think he's going to run me out there when I'm ready."
He was asked if there is a possibility he could return to the lineup as the DH.
"I think the main goal is to get me back here to do everything. When I get here, that I can do everything doesn't mean I won't DH or something. If Buck thinks that is the best thing for a week straight I don't know. But the goal is to play second base every day," he said.