Brian Roberts cleared to return to Orioles’ lineup

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Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was shut down in the middle of March due to soreness in his back. For a guy with his recent injury history, it seemed likely that the soreness would linger right on into the start of the regular season.

Not so.

According to MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli, Roberts is back in the Baltimore lineup Sunday for the O’s afternoon Grapefruit League matchup with the Rays.

He was able to take batting practice Friday and then again on Saturday. When he arrived at the ballpark Sunday morning with no abnormal pain or discomfort, the Orioles decided to clear him for action.

Roberts, 33, played in only 59 games last season and finished with an underwhelming .745 OPS in 230 at-bats. He’s hoping to bounce back with health on his side here in 2011.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.