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Orioles 2B Roberts to have back examined

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is returning to Baltimore to see a specialist for an ailing back that has kept him out of games this spring.

"I'm just going there to see a back doctor and just make sure we're progressing in a way we need to be and if we need to ramp it up and do anything else, then we will," Roberts after taking infield practice with the team on Sunday morning.

"It's gone a while," said Roberts, who also has been slowed by a stomach virus this spring. "We'd like to get over the hump a little bit."

He said that the decision to see Dr. Lee Riley at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Monday was not connected to his infield session and that he still aims to be ready for the Orioles' opener at Tampa Bay on April 6.

"I feel fine doing that sort of stuff," he said. "I still have a little bit of discomfort in certain areas and in certain ways, so those are the kinds of things that we're just going to check and make sure that we don't need to try to do anything different treatment wise."

On March 9, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail admitted being skeptical that Roberts would be ready for opening day. He emphasized that skepticism after Sunday's game against Philadelphia.

"Every day that goes by you have to be less confident because that's one less day you have to get him the necessary at-bats," MacPhail said.

Manager Dave Trembley is missing Roberts' presence in the leadoff spot, but thinks he'll be ready.

"I talked to Brian (Saturday), and he told me he'd be ready to play April 6. He's going back to Baltimore to do what he can to make that possible," Trembley said.

Roberts expects to return to Sarasota that night or Tuesday morning.

"It's not fun," he said. "It's certainly not the way you want to prepare for a 162-game season."

Roberts led the American League in doubles last season with 56.