The thought of not having Brian Roberts in the lineup on Opening Day almost makes me sick to my stomach. Without him, the Orioles are even worse off then they already are. This is an obvious point, but it is one worth noting over and over again. He is the leadoff man. He is the double machine. He is the run scorer. He is the third base stealer. Roberts is all these things and more, but he can’t be any of these things if he isn’t healthy. And as of right now, he’s not healthy. He has a herniated disk in his back and hasn’t played in a single spring game yet. To make matters worse, he got sick from the medication he was taking to alleviate the inflammation from the herniated disk.

Normally, athletes can recover relatively quickly from this type of injury because their trainers know how to exercise and strengthen the injured area. Time and rest is also a big factor in recovering from an injury such as this one. I don’t know if the injury itself is as big of a deal as the potential loss of Roberts for an extended period of time. Basically, I think he’ll be able to recover from this injury and return, but the idea of him being out for a while is the last thing the Orioles need.

At this point, it looks like he will be out until at least this coming weekend. Considering the fact that a player usually needs about 25-30 spring training game at-bats to be “ready” for the regular season, it looks as if Roberts may be cutting it close. Roberts would’ve probably already been on the field and working toward getting in regular season form if it weren’t for the medication making him sick. But he needs to get over the illness before he can get back on the field.

Andy MacPhail has publicly stated that he is concerned Roberts won’t be in the lineup for Opening Day. This shouldn’t scare anyone too much because it’s MacPahil’s job to put players on the field come game time. I think he is expecting and preparing for the worst because he has to. MacPhail has already said he may have some of his scouts start looking into the trade market as well as players within the organization to fill in for Roberts if need be. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point, but you never know with injuries.

I don’t think Roberts’ injury is something Orioles’ fans to be concerned about just yet. Roberts is tough and he is going to do all he can to come back healthy and ready to go. All indications point to a positive result and no lingering effects. Hopefully this is the case because I’m not sure if the Orioles could handle not having their leadoff man for a significant amount of time.

Submitted by Steve Giles