BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts was in the Orioles' clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels. The second baseman, working his way back from hamstring surgery, traveled north with the team from Florida from his rehabbing post in Sarasota.
It's not necessarily a step forward in his rehab process, but he says he's getting close and is happy to be around the action again.
"It's great to be back, certainly," Roberts said. "You feel kind of isolated on an island down there, so it's always good to be around the guys. It's always good to feel like you're part of the team."
His presence Monday didn't come as a complete surprise, as there had been some talk about him flying back with the team when it returned to Baltimore after a series with the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. But he talked it over with manager Buck Showalter and others in the organization and decided it was the best move.
"No, it doesn't make it any faster necessarily," Roberts said of his recovery timetable. "But that way they see a little bit more of what's going on. They know where we are in the progression. I don't think we have a timeframe still at this point but, you know, I think we're certainly in the home stretch."
The next hurdle he'll have to clear before being sent on a Minor League rehab assignment is running unrestrained and being "explosive" again.
Showalter said the medical staff's approval is important, but that the veteran Roberts will be a critical voice in deciding when to go on a rehab assignment, which would likely only be a small handful of games.
"I'm going to lean on Brian. He knows the level of what's got to be done here," Showalter said. "I'm going to lean toward what Brian's telling me. I think he's earned that and deserves that. More importantly, I trust him in that he's not going to say, 'I'm ready,' unless he feels like he is."
Roberts, who hasn't played a full season since 2009, was sentimental Monday about the chance to be back in the same room with the Orioles, the only club he's played for.
"There's nothing that compares to being in this atmosphere," Roberts said. "And you don't get to do it for a real long time, all things considered, in your career and in your life span. So every chance I get to be in this atmosphere, I want to be in it. I don't know how much longer I have to be in it and I want to be around it as much as possible."
Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.