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June 27, 2011

Brian Roberts says he's making progress

Brian Roberts still isn't ready to give a timetable for his return to the Orioles' lineup, but the veteran second baseman feels like he is making legitimate progress for the first time since starting to experience concussion symptoms May 16.

Roberts, who will be out at least through the All-Star break, said in a phone interview that his past couple of workouts have gone well and he’s starting to increase the intensity of his conditioning program each day.

“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m definitely getting better, and that’s certainly been encouraging,” Roberts, whose recent daily conditioning routine has included jogging and playing catch at the Orioles’ minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla., said Sunday night. “We’re still trying to get over the hurdles. Each day, you have to go through something new. It seems like we’re starting to make more significant progress and take more strides recently.”

Roberts, who still hasn’t been cleared to begin extensive baseball activities, said that up until the past few days, he was still experiencing dizziness and headaches after working out. However, some of those symptoms have started to subside.

“We’ll see how it goes as we ramp up the intensity,” said Roberts, who also had wisdom teeth removed Friday, a follow-up to the root canal he had while the team was in Kansas City, Mo., in early May. “You have to see where you are as you begin to progress through the activity. It’s just kind of overcoming those hurdles, and you don’t know until you get over them. I haven’t overcome all of them, but we’re getting there.”

The 33-year-old has played in just 39 of the Orioles’ 75 games this season after being limited to 59 games last year because of a herniated disk in his back and a late-season concussion. He experienced that concussion Sept. 27, when he hit himself over the helmet after striking out against the Tampa Bay Rays.

His latest concussion was sustained May 16, when he made a headfirst slide into first base to beat out a leadoff infield single against the Boston Red Sox.

Roberts has already made three visits to Pittsburgh-based Dr. Michael Collins, a concussion specialist whom the second baseman speaks to daily. His next visit to Collins is scheduled for late next week. Roberts isn’t sure whether he’ll get the full clearance then to begin baseball activities because that will depend on how he responds to workouts over the next week and a half.

“That’s kind of been the way it’s gone for me. When you do too much, you have the symptoms,” Roberts said. “You get the tiredness, the dizziness, the headaches, all of that stuff. But this is probably one of the first bright spots in the last five weeks for me. There have been some dark spots through it. It’s been good to finally see some light, hopefully, and be able to feel like I’m going to make some progress here real soon.”

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 2:27 PM | | Comments (41)


Newsflash to Brian: Great. Who cares anymore though?
Sorry to let you in on this but, you are old news my man.
Take two advil & call us next year.
Till then, put your pink slippers on & go sit by the pool.

just don't send the guy to Norfolk on any type of rehab assignment...he doesn't need to be anywhere near that mess at this stage. he'll relapse, never to be seen again.

Is it that difficult to put a decent AAA team together than can augment the major league roster with at least some serviceable players?'s quite obvious you've never had a concussion. And I'm sure it's as much the teams decision to have Brian "sit in his pink slippers" as it is Brian's.

You'd be wise to know of which you speak BEFORE you speak.

I used to be a huge B-Rob fan. I'm not anymore. I think he is soft. I understand that his livelihood is on the line. He doesn't want to risk his life. Fine ... I can't blame him for that. But just retire and stop being on the payroll just to collect money you don't deserve.

Football players are forced to miss a game, then they're back in the following week. This guy trots to first base and his symptoms reappear and he's out a month or three. Soft.

The triple AAA squad id laughable..every year we take everyone's retreads..players without a team & we load up on them no matter what the stats & histories are..It's the Oriole way....C-H-E-A-P! when are we gonna draft some college players who are ready to start at AAA Minor legues...No we draft good players & screw their fundamentals up by starting High School & College Players at the same lower levels....NOT Good! You damage their conditioning & their Psyche,
by 21 and 22 y.o. players from college being made to play with 17 y.o. high schoolers. Anyone else think there is something wrong with this picture? I see rookies on teams 20, 21, 22 years old..we stagnate them in the minors until they're 24-26 y.o.! Also having the youngsters play wit the old retreads don't help either!!!

Like the last guy, I used to be a huge B-Rob fan too. I wouldn't say that he is soft but the reasons he got concussions are just inexcusable. No need to slide into first base and especially do it to your self for striking out. Just throw your helmet at the ground and see if it can bounce higher than you like Adam Jones does when he strikes out. I can't say I'm not a fan anymore but being in the Mitchell report didn't help, even if it was only one time using roids.

My problem with this latest concussion is that if you watch his slide, he doesn't hit his head on anything. It doesn't even appear to be particularly jarring to the neck/head. And he still isn't clear to do anything? Sorry, not buying it. I think there's a commitment issue surfacing from being on a losing team for so many years. If not, then he's way too fragile to bother with him anymore.

Hope you like batting 2nd, cause JJ is the new leadoff guy. Not only works the count to draw walks, but homers on occassion, not to mention hitting in the clutch.

Sliding head first into 1st base is a dumb move by any player.

Why would you want to slow down momentum by sliding when you can overrun 1B at full speed?

Geno - It depends on the severity of the concussion, which can linger for months, or years if not treated. That's why MLB it manditory for a 7 days on the DL for a concussion, and the NFL is currently changing policy regarding concussions.

And if you want to compare NFL to MLB, see Kyle Turley, as well as all NFL players who suffer from migranes, memory loss, depression, and early alzheimers.

Call Roberts "soft", but at least he's not a dummy.

anyone who calls a player soft because he has a concussion is misinformed and probably never had a concussion. I had a concussion and they are very scary and have nothing to do with how tough you are. IF you have the symptoms you are really worried. Having said that they need to look for an experienced second baseman because of all the injuries besetting Roberts in addition to the concussion. He is one slide away from the DL at all times.

Yay! Bizarre hostility to our best player for the past 8 years! It's all his fault we were a bad team! I've never had a concussion, nor do I understand the toll on your body that playing a professional sport takes, but what the heck, I'll question the fortitude of a professional athlete who does! While I'm at it, why don't I throw in some vague attacks on the desire and professionalism of a man who has devoted his whole life to playing baseball! I'm an Orioles "fan" I guess, but I act like I hate the team and especially its players! Wheeee!!!

Do you think Blake Davis could be a replacement for Roberts. It seems his hitting and fielding are starting to improve and the OBP. I think Davis has a chance to progress into that spot. Give hime a chance and i bet he can do the job just fine. They better resign Hardy quickly though.

Jeff Z's reply: You never know what guys are going to do when they finally get a chance to play, but it is my opinion that the Orioles need to upgrade at that spot for next season.

BRob is done. Thanks a lot, buddy. Just take your 10mil a year, thank jebus and miggy's b12, and, puhleez, get off the roster. Meanwhile, how 'bout some sympathy for Peter Angelos. Everybody he pays big bucks to long term craps out. Can you blame him for being a little gun-shy after Brady, Albert, Melvin, Nick, and BRob et al take him to the cleaners after he negotiates in good faith with his heart? Cripes. Talk about a long term losing streak.

I look forward to brian getting back if he is healthy, I will truly welcome him but feel more important than ever to get hardy extended for 2-3 yrs. plus club options.. I also reccommend we begin looking via trade or anywhere for a 2B prospect who has some speed and OBP to hit leadoff..

Really wouldn't be suprised if the wisdom teeth had something to do with his symptoms. Seems to much of a coincidence that as soon as he gets them out, then suddenly he is feeling better. As long as he has been on the DL, how silly would it be if all that had to be done was a simple procedure to remove his wisdom teeth?

For anyone saying Brian Roberts is soft is crazy. Comparing concussions is stupid. All concussions are different. Remember Justin Morneau from the Twins who got a concussion last July? He missed the rest of the season including the playoffs and he still wasn't 100% recovered to start the season.

This was back in March but read this article from the USA Today about Morneau.

Brian Roberts was just playing baseball by sliding into first base. It was unfortunate that he got a concussion.

The only thing worse than Monday morning armchair quarterbacks are Monday morning armchair physicians.

Get real people, you can be as frustrated as you like with the state of the Orioles but your misplaced anger at B Rob is borderline criminal.

1) To those who question his hell-bent-for-leather style of play, this is what you LOVED him for, a gamer, a hardnosed caution-to-the-winds blue collar guy. Lordy if he STOPPED diving head first into 1st base or throwing his body through a wall you guys'd be the first ones calling him SOFT and a MOMMA'S BOY! So give me a break. This is what you get.

2) He hasn't been CLEARED to resume baseball activities. That's different than he simply doesn't feel like resuming baseball activities and he'd just prefer hanging out at the pool and painting his toenails and drinking daquiries while collecting his paycheck that it's almost like YOU GUYS are paying him out of your own pockets.

3) Speaking of that contract, if AM and PA HADN'T locked B Rob up, and traded him away or let him hit free agency, you guys would've been screaming bloody murder. And then, if he'd had injury problems on some other team (west coast or NL), it'd be merely a footnote to your ranting about some other terrible Oriole injustice.

I'm just sayin', I too wish the O's were 5 games over instead of 5 games under, that the rotation was looking more full of hope and progress than breaking down mediocrity. But B Rob's got a serious, life threatening condition and the state of the O's ain't his fault. And to whoever made that ridiculous comment about the football player who supposedly plays with a concussion after "sitting out" a mandatory game, I want to know your brilliant comment when that football player comes back too soon, sustains a more severe head injury that either kills him on the field or gives him brain damage for life.

And to the comment about whether his concussion symptoms are actually just wisdom tooth discomfort, really? When you, weekend warrior, grab your left arm in excruciating pain after legging out a softball double, and you can't breathe and the world is spinning - I hope your buddies don't tell you to walk it off and get back in the game. I hope they realize you've got something a bit more serious than muscle pain. Because that's what a heart attack looks like, baby. And trust me, concussion symptoms don't look or feel anything like an impacted wisdom tooth.

The O's will be better off without Roberts this year. I'm not sure what Mcfail will do with him. He hasn't played enough to be trade bait, so he's pretty much worthless in that department. Hardy is the new leadoff guy, and the O's have to play without Roberts.

JC -

I just don't understand why any player would want to slow down momentum by sliding when you can overrun 1B at full speed. What is the advantage? It looks better? It gives the illusion of a closer play?

Regardless if it's Roberts way of playing hard, it lacks common sense. It makes more sense to run like hell. Maybe you or sombody else has a good explaination on why it's better to slide to 1B, b/c I'd like to know.

Otherwise, I agree with everything else you said.

Why can't WE leave Roberts alone. If he's progressing, that's nice, but he needs to sit the season out. If he goes back onto the field this season he's putting himself in grave danger. These are the type of injuries that can end careers or greatly enervate them. Time to start preparing for life without B-Rob at 2B.

All good to hear, but is Brian just one slide away from retirement or worse?

It's embarrassing how irrational and ignorant many of the posters on this blog are. Brian Roberts has always given 100 percent and has nothing to gain by sitting on his couch. You tough guys need to get a clue!

Roberts cannot be counted on anymore between him hitting himself in the beano with his bat to sliding head first. All bad decisions. Give him his millions and let him go with the rest of the baseball millionaires in the sky.

Many players slide at first base to try to beat out a throw. Yes, it slows you down but maybe it is just the players instincts. It doesn't make them a bad or a stupid player. And to say it lacks common sense is stupid. Sometimes when you're in the heat of the moment, you just go with your instincts. If he didn't get a concussion from this head first slide, this would not be talked about at all.

This whole sliding things makes me think, is it better to run full force w/o sliding into home plate or is it better for the player to "slow down" and slide into home plate? I think you have a better chance to knock the ball out of the catcher's mitt running full force and there is your excuse to run into the catcher.

He's now considered injury prone. His age doesn't help and he may be starting to break down. Back issues and now concussion problems. What's next?


You cannot be anymore wrong. Brian Roberts has been a very good 2nd baseman and one of the best lead-off batters for years. That is undeniable. However, that is not the B-Rob we have seen in the past 2-3 years.

B-Rob goes through long stretches of not hustling. He has never been a leader in the clubhouse. His injuries are as result of dumb decisions, which by the way hurt the team. A veteran player should know that. And to top if off, he's used performance enhancing drugs. So, take off your righteous orange shades for a second and see reality for what it is, not what it used to be.


If it comes from instincts then the coaches aren't training the players hard enough in their drills.

If "instincts" is the best answer, then something is wrong. The first baseman isn't blocking the bag, and it isn't a force out, therefore the runner doesn't have to worry about avoiding the tag, which is the point of sliding.

There's a time when sliding into a base is called for and when it isn't. I don't see the point in sliding into 1B on a groundball. Sliding increases friction, and friction is resistance to forward motion. And then there is air resistence as well. This is way it doesn't make sense. Again... what is the point?

I want a baseball answer, not "instincts", because in all the years I played baseball I was never trained to slide into 1B.

Of course, there are cases for "maybe", such as if a player dives without touching the ground like he's superman, he might increase his speed for a split second. Again, thats "maybe", but maybe that's how Roberts got injured in the first place.

Without Roberts the O's will end up in last place. With him, they will.........still end up in last place. Guess it doesn't make much difference.

What a fickle lot. Not long ago posters to this site were praising Roberts up, down and sideways. Now it... get lost... just because he suffered a concussion. Sheesh.

Roberts seems to be another roider whose body breaks down after getting off the roids. Baseball is littered with these guys.

He made his bed now he sleeps in it. But picking up $10M a year is not a bad deal.

We need a 2nd baseman as Roberts is having one injury after another. But we also need a 1B, LF, DH and starting pitching.

With not much in the minors besides Machado and a losing major league team, I think it's time for McPhail to move on and we go through yet another rebuilding effort.

To the poster, above, who wanted to know why we have such a lousy team at Norfolk, and why we don't have a decent AAA team there, the answer is simple. Our AAA team is in Baltimore. They're called the Orioles.

oh yes, the steriod arguement. That's what caused Brian Roberts concusions - steriods! The answer to everything!

The reason you may want to slide into first base is because if the throw is high
and off-line towards home plate pulling the first baseman off the bag, he will unable to tag the runner.


More steroids please.........................

Good for Brian , he gave Peter the Great the shaft,,,,,,I love it...........

I don't question Roberts dedication or toughness. In fact, I believe he has been an excellent player for the Orioles for years and , if healthy, would have enabled them to be over .500 so far this year. Who can't think of at least five games he would have saved with his defense alone.

My concern is that the Roberts we have enjoyed is no more. With two concussions so close together I wonder whether another is around the corner and coming even more easily than the last two. If he doesn't play like he used to play (all out, diving, stealing bases, etc.) he may not get hurt but will he help the team. That is his game. Take that away and you don't have the kind of player we need to make things happen. It isn't like he can still play cautiously because he'll hit 40 home runs. Speed, playing without hesitation, etc. is his value. If he can't do that again, he can't help like he did before.

The outright anger towards Brian Roberts is perplexing and sad.

I think it's 50/50 that he ever plays baseball again, but either way, I wish him well and hope he has a great rest of his life.

1 - Don't know anything about concussions but BR seems to have been out longer than those with same injury in NFL. I realize they're all different but what gives here?

2 - Another case of guy signing big, long-term contract and then giving PA more ammo about why not to hand them out. Kiss Fielder chances good-bye.

Some of you dudes are really cold when it comes to this injury. Can't imagine what kind of snarky comments you'd make if it were to turn out he also had PTSD from this life-threatening event. What? - a psychological problem??? Now we would REALLY know he's a wuss, right?

But don't tell it to me, tell it to all the cops and military and other real men who can't get support for career-ending pain because they're afraid of what everyone would say. After all, it's "just" psychological. Pass the pink slippers, ye who have never walked in them..

Brian gives 100% to everything he does which is why he suffered the concussions. I've been in his home many times recently and what a terrific classy gentleman who dearly loves his wife. He'll do what expert doctors tell him to be back with the team.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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