BRADENTON, Fla. -- With Spring Training more than halfway done, second baseman Brian Roberts is healthy and upbeat, and the 35-year-old remains confident he will be out there come Opening Day.
"If I was ready on February 24, I hope I'll be ready on April 2nd," said Roberts, who has been a full participant in spring games. "I'm excited. [Orioles manager Buck Showalter] would probably tell you I've been champing at the bit in his ear. I want to play.
"It's been hard to be held back almost. When you haven't played in so long…I enjoy getting my work in on the days when I don't play, but I enjoy the game more than I enjoy the staying back working. I've been back working for a long time, but I know that it's a long season, and we're trying to take the approach that will have me ready to play."
Does Roberts, who suffered multiple concussions and hasn't played a full season since 2009, plan on being able to dive and steal like earlier in his career?
"I don't foresee [playing aggressively] being a problem," he said. "I guess I haven't necessarily. I dove for one ground ball, maybe. I haven't dove headfirst on a steal yet.
My doctors don't foresee it being a problem. I have the confidence now just in being out there every day and feeling very different than I did last year. I think moving forward, everything is in the right place."
Showalter, who joked with reporters to stop jinxing things, has also been encouraged with Roberts' play and enthusiasm this spring. In seven games, he has hit .400 (8-for-20) with a homer and two doubles.
"You can see how excited he is to be back in the flow of what he does," Showalter said. I know he's not on the treatment sheet much at all."
Where a healthy Roberts will be in the Orioles' lineup remains up for debate. He has hit leadoff and second and joked with reporters that he would be OK hitting "anywhere but 10th", meaning so long as he's in the lineup, he's happy.
"That was one of the things that last year people were asking how is it [to watch the team excel from the sidelines], and it was hard, but at the same time I knew I was going to benefit from the great things that were going on eventually also," he said. "And that being able to come back and play this year, I knew that all the good things that went on last year, it was going to be hopefully the tip of the iceberg for what's going to happen this year, we hope."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.