A few quick hits

SARASOTA, Fla. - Before I dash across the street to pick up lunch, I wanted to pass along a few short items.

Manager Buck Showalter described second baseman Brian Roberts as being 50 percent improved. Showalter seems fairly confident that Roberts will be back on the field tomorrow morning.

"You could tell he felt a lot better today," Showalter said.

Roberts wasn't going to play in Monday's exhibition opener in Bradenton. The original plan called for him to start Tuesday's game in Sarasota.

Vladimir Guerrero has told Showalter that he'll want to play two days and take one off. That pattern will remain until later in the Grapefruit League schedule, when he'll be three days on and one off.

Pitcher Josh Rupe was sent back to the team hotel because he's got a stomach virus.

Pitcher Mitch Atkins still can't throw because of a sore left oblique.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson talked to players this morning about understanding the purpose of spring training and appreciating the opportunity.

"It was pretty black and white," Showalter said. "He didn't leave much gray area about the way he felt about it."

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