Roberts' return to O's could be on horizon

Roberts' return to O's could be on horizon

BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts is pushing for a return, and each successful game at Double-A Bowie furthers the second baseman's case that he is ready to be activated from the 60-day DL.

Roberts went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored in his second game with the Baysox on Tuesday night, and he went 1-for-4 with an RBI single serving at designated hitter on Wednesday afternoon. He will take Thursday off and be reevaluated by the organization's medical staff, and according to president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, Roberts' plan will be dictated after that.

Interim manager Juan Samuel has made it no secret that Roberts has been lobbying him to get back in the O's lineup as soon as this weekend, and he stopped by Baltimore's clubhouse on Tuesday to let Samuel know how good he feels.

"We are waiting to hear from the medical people to get him clearance for us to make the decision on the baseball side of it," Samuel said. "And if they feel like he's ready from their area, then it's up to us. And we have to think what's the best scenario."

With Roberts, who is pushing to return this weekend, it's also possible he could begin next week's road series with the Orioles. But given his injury, a herniated disc in his lower back, Roberts would have to be used sparingly on Toronto's artificial turf.

"For me, the ideal place for [Roberts] is Kansas City," Samuel said on Tuesday. "We have to be smart. We do not want to see him have a major setback. I'm sure he's going to push his way into playing in Toronto, so we have to be smart with this."

The Orioles would still like to see Roberts test his back by diving for a ball or sliding headfirst, neither of which he did in his first two rehab games.