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.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.