BALTIMORE — Three games into his minor rehab assignment, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts thankfully hasn’t suffered any setbacks.
However, after a yearlong layoff from playing in real games, Roberts is still re-adjusting to the speed of the game at the minor-league level. In case anyone was wondering, that’s to be expected, according to manager Buck Showalter.
“He’s starting to get his clock back,” Showalter said. “If this thing, the way that he’s got it drawn it up and we have, he’d have the equivalent of spring training under his belt — at-bats-wise. He’d be in the mid-50s [for] plate appearances. He’s doing probably more work before the game [so far].”
Roberts has played second base and received six plate appearances in his first three games at Double-A Bowie before receiving the day off on Saturday. The 34-year-old has yet to collect a hit but has walked twice and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly on Friday night.
The plan is for Roberts to receive three plate appearances in Bowie on Sunday and Monday before heading to Single-A Delmarva on Tuesday and Wednesday, where he is expected to receive four plate appearances per game.
Beyond that, Showalter wants to discuss the remainder of the 20-day rehab assignment — ending on June 11 — with Roberts and expressed a desire for the veteran to finish the stint with games at Triple-A Norfolk.
Before going on his rehab assignment, Roberts acknowledged to reporters he’s thought about changes he might have to make in his style of play, particularly sliding feet-first instead of the headfirst slides that were a trademark of his career prior to the concussion-related issues. Showalter plans to discuss this with Roberts after he has stacked some more plate appearances, but he doesn’t envision a dramatically-different approach for the middle infielder and leadoff hitter.
“I’ll kind of believe that when I see it,” Showalter said. “I think he’s going to play the game with some energy. That’s the one thing — the couple games I saw — his clock isn’t quite there.”