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Orioles' Roberts trying to prove he's healthy

The SportsXchange

In the mid-2000s, the Baltimore Orioles had two assured things heading into a season:

One, they wouldn't be content.

Two, they'd have one of the best leadoff men in baseball anyway.

In the past three seasons, though, while the club has shown improvement in the standings, the consistent leadoff bat, second baseman Brian Roberts, has been a forgotten man.

This spring, he's aiming to put the past few seasons behind him, and take advantage of his rare good health in the final year of his contract.

Roberts -- who has battled leg injuries and concussion-related headaches for the past two years -- is healthy and playing regularly in Sarasota, Fla. In fact, he's due for a couple extra road trips not normally mandatory for veterans like himself.

This spring is all about getting Roberts back into game shape after much of the past two springs have been about simply recovering.

Roberts, 35, has appeared in just 115 games in the past three seasons combined, after playing in at least 112 games in each of the seven seasons prior.

Getting anything close to his last full season -- when he batted .283 with 16 homers and 56 doubles in 2009 -- would be a huge boost for the Orioles.

But in the event Roberts is held to 60 games or fewer -- as he has been in each of the last three years -- the Orioles are equipped to move on. Ryan Flaherty, Alexi Casilla and Yamaico Navarro are on the 40-man roster as insurance.

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