Not B-Robbing Brian of an opportunity

I mentioned yesterday that second baseman Brian Roberts, limited to four games because of a herniated disk and an assortment of setbacks that include pneumonia, back tightness and a stomach ailment, has started to take batting practice again in Sarasota.

You can decide whether this is an encouraging development or another cruel tease.

"We've gotten him up to these situations before and there's been an episode, but his progressions are picking up," said president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. "You just have to let it play out and see what happens."

So would the Orioles reach a point where they'd decide to shut down Roberts, rather than bring him back for a few games late in September, if it takes that long?

"If he's capable of playing without injuring himself, if you get to that stage, I think you would let him play," MacPhail said.

"I don't know why you would necessarily limit yourself."

Roberts hasn't appeared in a game since the April 9 home-opener against Toronto, when his back flared up again after a dive into second base. He's only accumulated 14 at-bats.

And to think I spent so much time this spring seeking updates on his condition.

At least he was more available. He's laying low these days. My last few calls and texts have gone unreturned, so I'll just rely on the team for updates until he resurfaces.

My non-related Orioles wish for this season: A Diamondback fails to run out a ground ball or loafs while retrieving a ball in the outfield, and has to walk past interim manger Kirk Gibson in the dugout.

I'd love to see how that played out.

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