Orioles’ Roberts goes 0-2 but feels good in return
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP)—Baltimore leadoff hitter Brian Roberts(notes) was feeling so good after his third at-bat Sunday that he ran past defensive replacement Brendan Harris(notes) in the bottom of the fifth and took one last turn in the field.
“They told me one more at-bat and I totally forgot after I hit and I wasn’t paying attention,” Roberts said. “I guess they just figured if he’s that stupid, just let him keep playing.”
Back spasms had sidelined Roberts since March 7, but he drew a walk in three plate appearances during Baltimore’s 9-8 victory against Tampa Bay. He also handled second base without incident, teaming up with J.J. Hardy(notes) to turn a double play in the fourth.
“He was supposed to come out of there, but he went on out,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It was a good start for him.”
“He’s doing a nice job at the top of the order,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Zo was nice today. He can be the man of a thousand stances sometimes, but I like that.”
For Roberts, just standing in the batter’s box was a step in the right direction. Roberts missed much of last year’s training camp with a herniated disc in his lower back and missed three months of the season rehabbing the injury.
“It was good to get out there and track some pitches and get back to game speed,” Roberts said.
Baltimore starter Brad Bergeson, trying to nail down one of the final two spots in the Orioles’ rotation, went five innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk.
“He’s had some counts in his favor and couldn’t quite finish off,” Showalter said. “I’ve seen him more crisp, which is normal, but he’ll get the ball a couple of more times and we’ll see what he does with it.”
Jeff Niemann(notes) lasted six innings for the Rays, giving up four runs on eight hits. Justin Ruggiano’s(notes) three-run home run in the seventh against Baltimore reliever Ryan Drese gave Tampa Bay an 8-7 lead.
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