Brian Roberts expected to be activated from the disabled list this weekend

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UPDATE: Orioles manager Buck Showalter told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that Roberts will not be activated tomorrow and is more likely to return Saturday or Sunday.

6:20 p.m. ET: Brian Roberts suffered a ruptured tendon in his right hamstring back on April 4 and eventually required surgery, but he’s finally on the verge of rejoining the Orioles.

According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, Roberts is expected to be activated from the disabled list for this weekend’s series against the Yankees. Now seven weeks removed from surgery, the 35-year-old went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in his first rehab game with Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday and walked twice in a suspended game last night.

Injuries have limited Roberts to just 118 games at the major league level since the start of 2010, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he will be the starting second baseman upon his return. Baltimore’s second basemen have combined to bat just .228/.286/.335 so far this season. Only the Royals and Blue Jays have a lower OPS from the position.

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

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The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.