Monday, March 15, 2010

Brian Roberts Timeline

Some things need to be seen in context. Here's how the Brian Roberts back injury story has spiraled downward over the past three and a half weeks...

Feb 18th: ESPN's Buster Olney reports a rumor about Brian Roberts and kidney stones:

Heard this: Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is coping with some serious discomfort from kidney stones, but to this point, the team has no indication that it will affect his preparation for the start of spring training.

Later that day...

After "internet speculation" about Brian Roberts battling kidney stones, Dave Trembley confirms to reporters that Roberts is instead having "a back spasm".

"He told me when he's here he'll be a full go," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said....

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail also seemed unconcerned that Roberts might come into camp under any restrictions.

"We had our medical review [Wednesday] and we're not anticipating that Brian will be limited,'' he said.

Feb 21st: From a note in the Baltimore Sun:

Mark Pieper, the agent for Brian Roberts, said that the second baseman, who has been slowed in recent weeks by back and kidney issues, is in town and will be ready to go in time for Tuesday's first workout.

Feb 22th: From the Sun...

Roberts reported to spring training camp Monday and acknowledged that he was diagnosed with a small herniated disc in his back about a month ago. However, the injury will not require surgery and is not expected to have any lingering effects besides Roberts taking it slow early in spring training....

It's going to be a little slow probably at the beginning, but it shouldn't set me back hopefully for [Opening Day] on April 6."

Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail said that the club isn't concerned because Roberts has already responded well to medication and treatment.

Feb 23: Brian Roberts had his first workout in Sarasota:

Brian Roberts took grounders at second base, lifted and hit off the tee on Tuesday morning, and is hoping to be able to take live batting practice within the next week.

Roberts, who was diagnosed with a small herniated disc in his lower back a few weeks ago, said he didn't have any pain when bending over to field on Tuesday.

Feb 25th: Britt Ghiroli tries to get a timeline:

So, I sought out Crow with fellow reporter Roch Kubato, and Crowley's plan right now isn't concrete. Seems he's playing things by ear, although Crowley sounded less optimistic than Roberts about when the second baseman would take live batting practice. Roberts had said on Tuesday that he had hoped to start taking BP within a week. It's something that is possible, but I got the feeling from Crowley that that maybe too soon.

Feb 27th: Dave Trembley updates Roberts' status:

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he still isn't sure when Roberts will be ready to take batting practice, but the club is happy with the progress the two-time All-Star has made.

"He's doing a great job in all the drills, playing catch, running the bases," Trembley said. "We're going to take our time with the live hitting."

Feb 28th: Brian Roberts takes batting practice:

Brian Roberts took swings during the Orioles live batting practice on Sunday for the first time since being diagnosed with a small herniated disc in his lower back.The Orioles leadoff hitter, Roberts progressively swung with more authority as he rotated through the team's five stations, taking some good hacks in particular off infield coach Juan Samuel...

"That's the last phase, start hitting live," manager Dave Trembley said of Roberts' program. "So, it was good to get that started [on Sunday]."

With the Orioles set to play an intrasquad game on Monday and open Grapefruit League play against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, the timetable for Roberts' return is still undecided.

"I don't know [when Roberts will get in games]," Trembley said "I will wait until I see what [head athletic trainer Richard Bancells] tells me, what [Roberts] tells me. I can't put a time frame on it."

March 4th: No timetable for Roberts' return:

Trembley also continues to insist that he is not concerned about the back injury that has limited the activities of Brian Roberts.

"No, I'm not concerned," he said. "Today is March 4. If it's April 4, I'll be concerned."

Since there is no firm target date for Roberts' exhibition debut, somebody asked Trembley what he thinks is the minimum number of at-bats that a player needs to get in spring training to get ready for the season. He said 30.

March 6th: Britt Ghiroli reports that no news is, well, no news.

There's no new update on Brian Roberts, with Trembley declining to set any timetable on his Grapefruit League debut. Roberts have been a full-go in practice but has yet to play in a game, as he works his way back from a herniated disc in his lower back.

March 9th: Roberts' back medication causes stomach distress:

Brian Roberts' progression in rehabbing a slight herniated disc in his back hit a speed bump Monday night, after taking medication that upset his stomach.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Roberts was prescribed a megadose pack on Sunday, similar to a cortisone shot, to help reduce the inflammation and is now suffering from a stomach virus.

Roberts was confined to the team's training room on Tuesday and the initial course of action is to stay away from baseball-related activities for the following three days.

Later on that day, Andy MacPhail weighed in...

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he doesn't expect Brian Roberts to play in an exhibition game for at least another week, but he is still confident that the injured second baseman will be ready for Opening Day.

"The medical stuff that I have so far indicates that he should be ready to go when the season starts," MacPhail said. "It is what it is. You have to recognize that you have a month to go before you open. You have time, and you have to take advantage of it to make it right."

MacPhail said that Roberts, who has a slightly herniated disk in his back, has had no setbacks, but the club is taking a "very low-key approach" with the treatment.

March 10th: Andy MacPhail changes the party line:

"I talked to Richie Bancells, our head athletic trainer, about it again today, and at this time he still thinks Brian is going to be ready for Opening Day, but you have to be concerned now," MacPhail said. "To me, you get 10 days into spring training before you start really paying attention, but the clock is starting to be an issue. ... By now, we have to start thinking about, 'What if he isn't ready?' "

MacPhail said he might start having his scouts look at who is available on the trade market along with exploring internal options.

March 14th: Brian Roberts is flown back to Baltimore to see a back specialist:

Brian Roberts was back at second base taking infield early today, which appeared to be a sign that he was making progress in his recovery from a nagging lower back injury.

That appearance turned out to be deceiving.

Soon after Roberts returned to the Orioles clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium, the team announced he was being sent back to Baltimore to see Johns Hopkins back specialist Dr. Lee Riley and, perhaps, pursue an altered course of treatment on the herniated disk that has limited his activity throughout spring training.

The team said that Roberts will receive an "epidural" (a local pain-reducing injection) to deal with the remaining soreness, but Roberts said later that will be just one of the possible options when he is examined on Monday...

If this latest revelation about his condition would seem to raise a red flag after several weeks of physical therapy, Roberts insists that he has suffered no setback and he still thinks he will be ready to play when the Orioles open the regular season on April 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

"Certainly, my goals haven't changed for April 6,'' he said. "I don't think that anybody, from the trainers room to anybody else, I don't think their goals have changed at this point."

That all sounds nice, but Roberts admitted in almost the same breath that he has not made a lot of progress recently, and he did not hide his frustration with this latest series of events when he spoke to reporters before Sunday's exhibition game...

The situation is a study in mixed signals. Roberts says he has not had a setback, but he was swinging a bat a week ago and he hasn't since. The Orioles say they still think he'll make it back in time, but they are working on a Plan B. Roberts took infield on Sunday and looked very comfortable, yet he's headed back to Baltimore.

So to recap, the diagnosis went from kidney stones to back spasms to a herniated disc. The timetable went from full speed at Spring Training to workouts only, (originally with no BP) to ready for Opening Day to "we're not really sure". It's not a good trend.

1 comment:

the wayward o said...

i just got here via a google ad!

O's blogsphere is hottttt!

re: herniated disc

i know a fella who had one and it's not a great injury

however -- once you get the inflammation undercontrol it tends to go away for long stretches

so methinks rob might be right when he predicts he'll be playing soon