BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed what was already assumed on Tuesday that second baseman Brian Roberts will not be activated from the 15-day disabled list when he becomes eligible on Saturday.
In Sarasota since last week, the 35-year-old is improving in his recovery from what the club has labeled a hamstring strain. Roberts tore a tendon behind his right knee in the third game of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays and has yet to resume baseball-related activities.
With Roberts shelved, 26-year-old Ryan Flaherty has handled the bulk of the work at second base, going 2-for-24 with one home run in seven games. Utility infielder Alexi Casilla has gone 3-for-11 when given his opportunities at the position.
In other injury-related news, pitchers Steve Johnson and Tsuyoshi Wada are each scheduled to throw in Sarasota on Thursday. If all goes well, Johnson could be sent on a minor-league rehab assignment as he moves closer to a return from the back injury he’s dealt with since March.
With Tuesday’s starter Jake Arrieta off to a poor start in his first two outings, the Orioles will be watching Johnson’s status closely as he could find an opportunity in the back end of the starting rotation sooner rather than later. Showalter expressed his wish that Arrieta simply provide the club a chance to win whenever he takes the hill, but the 27-year-old appears to be on a short leash already after allowing eight earned runs and six walks in his first two starts covering 10 innings.
“It doesn’t always follow a script like I’ve said too many times,” Showalter said. “Last year started out great [for him] and then had some challenges. Hopefully, he’ll get a little better each time out and give us a chance to win every time he takes the hill. We’re kind of living in the moment when he’s concerned. All of our pitchers are.”
Showalter expressed a desire for Arrieta to pitch deeper into games as he completed only five innings against Minnesota in the home opener and left last week’s start at Fenway that lasted five innings before a 43-minute rain delay ended his evening prematurely.
Here are Tuesday night’s lineups…
CF Desmond Jennings
DH Kelly Johnson
2B Ben Zobrist
3B Evan Longoria
LF Matt Joyce
SS Yunel Escobar
1B James Loney
C Jose Lobaton
RF Sam Fuld
RHP Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.08 ERA)
LF Nate McLouth
3B Manny Machado
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
2B Ryan Flaherty
DH Nolan Reimold
RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 7.20 ERA)