Roberts' return could be for real this time

For any O's fan it was a positive sight. Seeing Brian Roberts take the field in Bowie last night. Even though he had on a Baysox uniform, the mannerisms and actions out at second base looked quite familiar. After watching Roberts play and talking with him before and after the game, this thought came to mind: This time Roberts may actually make it back on the field. He looked good in the game vs. Binghamton, going 2 for 5, and is now 10 for 20 in six injury rehab games. Brian-Roberts_Orange-Back-Tall.jpg Bigger tests will come later and Roberts still needs to show everyone he can handle the rigors of his job on a daily basis. He looked close to ready and sounded optimistic about his return to the Orioles. He shed light on some topics we all had been wondering about. He told us surgery was never considered for his back and the doctors told him it was just not necessary. He is not worried that the injury threatens his career and said a doctor that has dealt with many players that have back injuries said his was "very, very small in the grand scheme of things." Many fans are worried that the next time Roberts has to dive for a ball or slide into the second base bag, will bring about another setback. I have those thoughts too, but my concerns were eased a bit by what I saw and heard last night. Call it cautiously optimistic. When Dave Johnson and I spoke with fans during a rain delay call-in segment recently during the O's radio pre-game show, a fan called in to say the O's should have traded Roberts when they could. Like they should have known coming off a season where he hit .283-16-79 with 56 doubles, 110 runs and 30 steals that he was going to get hurt over the winter. Give me a break. The fan also said Roberts is getting older, another reason he should have been dealt. Roberts has shown absolutely no indication that he is slowing down over the last few years and many of his stats have been holding steady or trending up. There are very few areas, almost none, where the O's can say they rank among the best in baseball. But on their team, when healthy, resides one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball. Brian Roberts batting at the top of the O's order is going to be a welcome sight for all fans. It could happen later this week. Roberts remains one of the faces of this franchise and a cornerstone of any future success over the next few years. He alone can't turn around all this losing and this nightmare of a season. But I don't see how anyone could think Roberts is getting old or slowing down. The Orioles need him and he may be back soon. Maybe this time for good.

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