Roberts Progressing Towards Full Recovery

Two-time All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts began his minor league rehab this past week.

Two-time All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts began his 20-game Minor League rehab stint last Wednesday with the Bowie Baysox and has been making great progress.

Playing just 39 games in 2011, Roberts hasn't been on the field for the Orioles since May 16 of last year following a head-first slide into first base in which he hit the back of his head.

Beginning the stint with caution, Roberts started out with just two plate appearances a game before moving up to three in Sunday afternoon's victory over the Altoona Curve.

Roberts, 34, has been all smiles lately and seems to be confident about his return to the big league lineup, which is speculated for the middle of June.

“It's obviously been nice getting back out there and doing what I love,” Roberts said prior to Monday afternoon's game. “I hope to be ready to go the day I'm activated (from the disabled list). It's still a couple weeks away, but that's what I'm aiming for.”

In five games with Double-A Bowie, Roberts has hit .222 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored in 12 plate appearances. The numbers, however, do not mean anything. Roberts' focus throughout his stint has just been to get comfortable both on the field and at the plate.

“People don't realize how fast the game is,” Roberts explained. “I've just been focused on seeing pitches and getting comfortable with the game speed again. I want to be able to get back into the swing of things before I'm back (in Baltimore).”

Baltimore Manager Buck Showalter was in attendance for Roberts' first rehab game last week and has recently expressed how impressed he has been with the play of the second baseman. Showalter has not announced an exact date for his return but, like Roberts, it's likely that he plans on having him available by mid-June.

Current second baseman Robert Andino, who took over the full-time starting role this season, has publicly announced that he is ready to step aside for Roberts upon his return to Baltimore.

“I assume I'll be playing second base,” Roberts said when asked about what his role would be when he's back to full health. “I haven't been told otherwise.”

With Bowie (22-28), currently riding a three-game winning streak after taking three of four from Altoona to wrap up an eight-game home stand, hitting the road this week Roberts will be heading down to Delmarva and suiting up for the Shorebirds for a couple games.

The plan appears to be for Roberts to play in Delmarva on Tuesday and Wednesday then possibly finishing off the 20-game rehab stint in Triple-A Norfolk.

Playing and feeling great, Roberts is heading towards a successful recovery from concussion-like symptoms and will return to the first place Orioles (29-20) once he's comfortable enough to compete at the major league level again.

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