Orioles 2B Roberts placed on 15-day disabled list

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles placed second baseman Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a strained abdominal muscle and to enable the two-time All-Star to receive further treatment on his ailing back.

The move is retroactive to April 10.

An MRI on Monday showed no unexpected damage. But manager Dave Trembley said Roberts will probably be on the DL longer than 15 days after receiving an epidural injection — the second in four weeks — in his lower back.

Roberts hasn't played since Friday, when he hurt himself while stealing second base in the first inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He also missed most of spring training with a herniated disk in his back.

Trembley said the team doctor told him it's possible that Roberts aggravated his back injury on the same play in which he hurt his abdomen.

Roberts has to rest four to five days to let the epidural take hold. He will then resume athletic activity before working himself into baseball shape and going on a rehabilitative stint.

The Orioles filled Roberts' spot on the roster by recalling infielder Justin Turner from Triple-A Norfolk. Turner hit .344 in 16 spring training games with Baltimore.

"I had just gotten unpacked in my apartment in Norfolk. Then I had to pack it all back up and head out," Turner said. "But it's always nice to be up here."

Turner made his debut with the Orioles last Sept. 8. He went 3 for 18 in 12 games.

Roberts played in Baltimore's first four games this season and is batting .143. He has long been a key contributor at the top of the lineup.

"Obviously, it is a major loss. We're going to have to pick up the pieces and fill in as best we can," Trembley said. "He's very valuable to the club. The guy that sets the tone for us offensively. You can't replace it."

The Orioles began a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Monday with Julio Lugo playing second base and Felix Pie occupying the leadoff spot.

"He is one of the better leadoff hitters in all of baseball. He sets it up for the whole team," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I am sure it will make it more difficult for them; it's going to have an effect."