Roberts leaving team (updated)

Brian Roberts is flying back to Baltimore later today to receive an epidural as the latest procedure to alleviate the discomfort caused by a herniated disk in his back.

Epidural injection is the administration of medication into the epidural space. It's used to treat swelling, pain, and inflammation associated with neurological conditions that affect nerve roots, such as a herniated disk and radiculopathy.

Roberts, who took infield earlier this morning, will meet with reporters before the clubhouse closes at noon.

Update: Back specialist Dr. Lee Riley will examine Roberts at Johns Hopkins.

Robert said an epidural is one option being considered. He insisted this procedure doesn't indicate that he's had a setback, but it can't be viewed as a positive step forward.

"I'm just going there to see a back doctor and just make sure we're progressing in a way we need to be. And if we need to ramp it up and do anything else, then we will," he said.

Asked if it's a setback, Roberts said, "No, because we haven't done anything new or different. We just want to make sure that we're progressing in a way that will give us a good chance to play on Opening Day."

Roberts took infield earlier, but he didn't hit.

"I feel fine doing that sort of stuff," he said. "I still have a little bit of discomfort in certain areas and in certain ways, so those are the kinds of things that we're just going to check and make sure that we don't need to try to do anything different treatment-wise.

"I haven't hit in five or six days. At this point, I don't have anything that gives me major trouble or discomfort. I mean, I've had some discomfort. Hitting was probably the biggest issue at that point. We're trying to push it forward as best as we can.

"I'm not alarmed because I know what my body feels like. I'm ready to go out there and play. But obviously, we have 162 games in front of us and you have to start as softly as you can. Certainly, my goals haven't changed for April 6. I don't think that anybody, from the trainers room to anybody else, I don't think their goals have changed at this point."

Roberts said his back is at "the same stage," imply that his condition hasn't worsened. He hopes to get back to Sarasota tomorrow night or Tuesday.

"We'd like to get over the hump a little bit more if we can. We'll see what the best method for that is," he said.

"We don't know if we're doing anything yet. I might just see the doctor and fly out. They don't know what they're going to do yet.

"It's not fun. It's certainly not the way you want to start. But the biggest key, like we've talked about, is the 162 that really count. I'm still confident that I'm going to play in all of those."


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