Roberts' next game on Tuesday

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts confirmed that his next start will come Tuesday against the New York Yankees at Ed Smith Stadium.

Roberts won't play in tomorrow's minor league games after going 0-for-2 with a walk and strikeout this afternoon.

Roberts hadn't been in the lineup since March 7, also against the Yankees.

"Better than sitting on the sidelines," he said. "It was a beautiful day, good atmosphere. It was fun to get out there and play."

Roberts didn't swing in three plate appearances until grounding out on the 10th pitch.

"I figured I'd swing at some point," he said. "I wasn't sure if it'd be a strike or not, but I figured I'd swing."

Asked about the importance of seeing pitches, Roberts replied, "You know, I don't want to walk out there without seeing any pitches on opening day, so it was good to get out there and track some pitches."

Roberts was supposed to leave the game after batting in the fifth, but he stayed on the field. Brendan Harris replaced him in the bottom of the sixth.

"They told me one more at-bat and I totally forgot after I hit," he said. "I guess they just figured if he's that stupid, let him keep playing."

Today's game also gave Roberts a chance to work with his new double play partner, J.J. Hardy.

"I had a double play today, I didn't really notice who was over there," Roberts said, grinning. "It doesn't matter to me. The balls coming to the base. I've got to catch it and throw the ball first. I've played with 25 shortstops, so it doesn't really matter that much to me."

The Orioles scored three runs in the top of the seventh to increase their lead to 7-2, but the Rays countered with six runs off Ryan Drese in the bottom half, the last three on Justin Ruggiano's homer.

Rays 8, Orioles 7.

Drese has been victimized by a couple of infield hits, with one ball deflecting off his foot, but this is another poor outing for a guy who entered camp as a long shot to make the rotation. His ERA is up to 9.26.

Hardy led off the top half with his second hit. Harris singled, and Adam Jones collected his second double to bring home Hardy. Nick Markakis followed with a two-run single. Jones and Markakis each have two hits today.

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