Brian Roberts’ nightmare season continues. According to The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, Roberts was hospitalized on Wednesday with pneumonia while the O’s suffered a series opening loss to the Texas Rangers. He was scheduled to make his extended Spring Training debut tomorrow.
Of course, according to Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, things with BRob are just swell. “We don’t anticipate that it’s going to be anything that impacts his rehabilitation schedule,” MacPhail told The Sun.
Err, your star second baseman was supposed to finally start working his way back to playing. Instead, he’s in the hospital. That’s pretty much the definition of “impact[ing] his rehabilitation schedule.”
It’s not Brian Roberts’ fault that he has pneumonia, unless he went out in the rain without his coat. But why must MacPhail continue his “What, me worry?” routine? When a $40 million dollar player shows up to Spring Training with a back ailment, that is cause for concern.
MacPhail has a responsibility not to show panic, but his consistent insistence that the sky is green is wearing thin. A simple, “We hope that Brian has a full recovery. Our thoughts are with him at this time” would suffice. You see, I can come up with something that is neither alarmist nor insultingly unrealistic, and tact isn’t exactly my specialty.
Meanwhile, multiple sources are reporting that Norfolk first baseman Michael Aubrey will be called up to the bigs on Friday. Zrebiec believes Alberto Castillo will be sent down, but the true culprit here is, of course, Garrett Atkins. Atkins is still homerless. He is the only first baseman in the major leagues with at least 100 at bats and 0 homers.
There are 4.5 million reasons Atkins has not been released, despite the fact that he isn’t even hitting for power in batting practice. Aubrey has been hot at Norfolk, but like Rhyne Hughes, Aubrey is probably not a long-term solution. He will, however, relegate Atkins to the bench. If the O’s aren’t willing to put Garrett out of his misery and on the streets, the end of the bench will have to do.
I wonder if MacPhail will tell Atkins that all is well when he does finally send him packing.