The timetable for Derrek Lee's exhibition debut has been pushed back a couple of times, and Showalter revealed on Tuesday that the club was sending its new first baseman to a specialist to look at his sore right wrist.Roberts has been dealing with a couple different injuries, including pain in his back and neck. Considering he missed a significant amount of time in 2010 from an assortment of injuries -- an abdominal strain, a hip strain, a knee contusion, and a concussion -- it's hard not to be at least a little concerned that Roberts might have a hard time staying healthy not only in 2011, but for the rest of his career.
Then came the news that Roberts was held out of Tuesday's workout back in Sarasota because of a back spasm, which is sure to send a chill down the spine of everyone who saw how his absence impacted the Orioles' offense last season.
Lee, meanwhile, played through immense hand/thumb pain last season, and he's currently dealing with a sore right wrist. It's not likely that he'll need surgery, but it's also possible that he may be dealing with some pain or discomfort for a majority of the upcoming season. That doesn't bode well for his chances of having a much-improved season at the plate.
If Lee and Roberts were younger players, the outlook on their recoveries would be a little brighter. But Lee is 35 and Roberts is 33. For argument's sake, Roberts's absence would be the biggest of the two. The O's played without Roberts for much of last season, and the offense struggled mightily without him. If Lee missed time, the O's would probably move Luke Scott to first base and hope that his defense wouldn't be terrible. Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie would then split time in left field. The O's could deal with that situation -- maybe not for the entire season, but for a considerable chunk of time, sure. But if Roberts were to miss time, Cesar Izturis would likely man second base. Defensively, that would be OK (though Izturis hasn't played second for a while), but offensively, the loss of Roberts would again prove to be enormous.
It might be a little early for this kind of worrying, so don't hit the panic button just yet. But don't expect these types of injury concerns to just disappear overnight.
Injury information found using the handy Baseball Injury Tool