Three hundred and ninety-two days after he last suited up for the Baltimore Orioles, second baseman Brian Roberts is finally expected back on the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards tonight.
After playing in 159 games for the Birds in 2009, Roberts played only 59 in 2010 before going out with concussion-like symptoms after hitting himself in the head with his bat following a strikeout. He returned on opening day in 2011, but only made it through 39 games before the symptoms returned.
Roberts has been rehabbing heavily for the past year, working with the best concussion specialists in the country. His story is extremely sad, as a special on ESPN last year detailed. Most O’s fans and observers never expected Roberts to play another game. The fact that he has been able to come this far is a small miracle in itself.
Now the question is, can Brian be even 70-80% of the All-Star that he once was?
At 34 years old, and coming off such a severe injury, nobody is sure what kind of performance to expect from B-Rob.
Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it – even a 75% Brian Roberts is likely more productive at the top of the O’s lineup than anybody who’s been there this year since Nolan Reimold went out.
Endy Chavez is hitting .167 with an OBP of .198. Robert Andino has been slightly better, at .243/.295, but strikes out WAY too much. Xavier Avery started hot, but dropped down to .217/.299 before being sent back down to the minors to play every day.
Nothing even close to Roberts’ career .281/.353/.416 line.
If Roberts can be his old self defensively, he also represents a step up on defense for the Birds. Not necessarily over Andino – who has played his position well – but because with him at second, Andino could potentially be moved to third base, where he is much better with the glove than Mark Reynolds or Wilson Betemit.
Welcome back, B-Rob. All of B’More will be pulling for you.