"He's probably the only legitimate leadoff hitter we have," Trembley said of Roberts. "I think it's safe to say that on the days when he doesn't start, you mix your lineup up as best you possibly can and try to fill some guys in slots without having to change five or six. You try to keep the majority of your lineup intact as best you can."
Baltimore also shifted Melvin Mora out of the lineup, which meant rare starts for Ty Wigginton at second base and Oscar Salazar at third. Trembley said Roberts was in need of a day off for reasons other than his 0-for-10 slump over the past three games, a skid that follows directly on the heels of a six-game hitting streak.
"I think it comes and goes with all of them," Trembley said. "I think they've all had some periods where they take an 0-for-4, and then guys get hot. But if you looked at the way I've tried to do things -- especially on the last trip and especially playing the National League clubs -- I think everyone was rested. This is a good day to rest Roberts."
Roberts, who is hitting .284 with a .355 on-base percentage vs. lefties and .284 with a .352 mark against righties, has perhaps the largest footprint of any Baltimore regular. The Orioles have used four hitters in the cleanup slot and several at every other spot except third, which is the exclusive home of Jones and Nick Markakis.
For any other slot, you can imagine an alternative. Batting leadoff, there's only Roberts, who ranks first in the American League in doubles (25) and leads his team in both runs (54) and stolen bases (15).
"He's a leadoff hitter, and a good one," said Trembley. "That's who he is. And when he's not in the lineup -- last year, I remember he was sick for three days and didn't play -- it's hard not having him in there."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.