Brian Roberts has developed a reputation for being one of the most durable players in baseball, appearing in 155 or more games in each of the past three seasons. But he may have to play through pain to keep that streak alive.
Orioles beat writer Peter Schmuck reported Monday that Roberts arrived at the team’s spring training facility with a herniated disc in his lower back. The 32-year-old indicated that the injury is minor and will not require surgery, although he has been dealing with pain for more than a month.
A two-time All-Star, Roberts has been with the Orioles for the duration of his career, and is a key component of their lineup. The leadoff man batted .283 with a .356 on-base percentage last season, while leading the league with 56 doubles. Roberts also is a dynamic threat on the basepaths – he stole 30 bases last season, and has swiped 120 over the past three years while being caught just 24 times, for an excellent 83.3 percent success rate.
When the pain first appeared, Roberts thought that he was suffering from kidney stones, but he eventually was diagnosed with back spasms and later told he had a herniated disk. Roberts will take a more cautious approach to his workouts in the early days of spring training, but does not believe the injury will prevent him from being fully ready by Opening Day.
Still, it’s worth noting that back injuries have a tendency to linger, and Roberts may not regain his power and speed until the pain subsides.
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