Brian Roberts hasn’t played since May 16 of last season, but there’s still no timetable for his return from multiple concussions.
Roberts has progressed to taking batting practice and fielding ground balls, and Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the second baseman now has more good days than bad days, but that means he’s still experiencing symptoms at least occasionally.
“I don’t know what the next step is,” Roberts admitted to Encina. “When we get to point where I guess I feel like I’m to the point where the next step is we’ll figure out what the next step is.”
Robert Andino is expected to serve as the Orioles’ starting second baseman if Roberts isn’t ready for Opening Day, but that’s a huge dropoff even if Andino is able to duplicate what was for him a career-year in 2011.
Roberts played just 59 and 39 games during the past two seasons, but prior to that averaged 152 games per season from 2004-2009 while hitting .290 with a .365 on-base percentage and .803 OPS. During that six-year span he ranked seventh among all second basemen in OPS and also stole 212 bases.
The Orioles announced, prior to Sunday’s game against the Yankees, that the club signed pitcher Tommy Hunter to a major league contract. In related roster moves, the club recalled pitcher Oliver Drake from Triple-A Norfolk and designated pitcher T.J. McFarland and outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment.
The Indians released Hunter on Thursday after he struggled in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. Hunter was recovering from a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. The right-hander put up a respectable 3.74 ERA with a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings for the Indians.
This will be Hunter’s second stint with the Orioles. The O’s had acquired him along with first baseman Chris Davis at the trade deadline from the Rangers in 2011 in the Koji Uehara trade.
The Orioles are only responsible for paying Hunter the prorated major league minimum.
Orioles DH Mark Trumbo drilled a two-run home run to left-center field off of reliever Ben Heller in the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Yankees. In doing so, he became the first player to reach the 40-homer plateau this season.
Trumbo finished 1-for-4 on the afternoon. Along with the 40 dingers, he’s hitting .257/.317/.541 with 96 RBI. He has already set a career-high in homers and is four RBI away from tying his career high in that regard.
Trumbo is eligible for free agency after the season. Needless to say, his performance in 2016 bodes well for his ability to secure a hefty contract.