Entering Friday’s action, Brian Roberts has started all 23 games for the Orioles this season, yet he only has two stolen bases. Some have speculated that his balky back could be a factor for his inactivity on the basepaths, but Roberts told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com earlier today that he has been slowed early in the season due to a hamstring injury.
“I actually had a hamstring [injury] for about three weeks and nobody knew about it,” said Roberts, who said he started feeling discomfort in his right hamstring at the end of spring training. “I wanted to be on the field and I knew if I was trying to run recklessly, I probably wouldn’t have been able to stay in the lineup. But it’s gotten a lot better,” said Roberts, who stole his second base of the season, and first since April 6, on Thursday.
Roberts stole 12 bases in an injury-shortened 2010 season, but swiped at least 23 bases in the previous seven seasons. Though he’s now 33 years old and increasingly injury-prone, he tells Ghiroli that he’s confident he can get back to being the same player.
“I want to run and I think I still can run. I think I can still steal 30 bases and that’s what I’m hoping to do.”
Roberts is batting .253/.287/.411 with three homers and 16 RBI over his first 101 plate appearances this season.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.