“I’m as excited as I’ve ever been coming off a year where I didn’t get to go on the field a lot and do what I love to do,” Roberts said today in a phone interview. “To go through those struggles, that was one of the hardest years of my life, baseballwise. Every chance I get to go the gym and continue to progress, I’m excited as I’ve ever been. I’m looking forward to 2011, that's for sure.”
The Orioles’ recent acquisition of Brendan Harris in the trade with the Minnesota Twins that also returned J.J. Hardy, coupled with their re-signing of Cesar Izturis in a utility role, prompted questions about Roberts' availability for the 2011 season.
However, Roberts said today that he has “cranked up” his workouts the past couple of weeks and everything feels good.
“My back is fine,” said Roberts, who missed 3 1/2 months with a herniated disk in his back. “I basically played the last two months of the season, and I played like I normally would. I haven’t had any issues with it. If I can go out and play 60 games with it, I’m over it, as far as I know.”
Roberts did acknowledged that he was forced to delay his preparations for the season because he was still feeling the effects of a concussion that he sustained Sept. 27 when he struck himself in the helmet with his bat after a strikeout. The 33-year-old missed the final six games of the season.
Roberts said he was still feeling some side effects of the concussion, including dizziness and nausea, up until three or four weeks ago.
“It lasted a little longer than any of us anticipated,” said Roberts, who was in regular contact with Orioles doctor William Goldiner and also saw a neurosurgeon. “It was a pain in the butt for a while. I learned a lot about them, just talking to different doctors and wondering as much as I could about it. You just have to wait it out. It lasted longer than we hoped, but in the end, it was a good break to let my body recover and give myself that six weeks of recovery time.”
Roberts has stayed in Baltimore after the season and has been working out with former Orioles strength and conditioning coach Jay Shiner. However, he’s leaving for Sarasota, Fla., this weekend, where he’ll work with a trainer in Bradenton.
He applauded the club’s recent acquisitions and said he is hoping the front office will be able to add a few more pieces before it’s all said and done.
“We’ve made some good moves,” Roberts said. “I’m looking forward to getting Mark [Reynolds] and J.J. in here and kind of having a whole new look. They bring in a new and interesting dynamic to our team. Mark brings a 35-homer guy that we haven’t had here in a long time. J.J. has the potential to hit 20, 25 homers, and we haven’t had that from the shortstop position since probably the first time we signed [Miguel Tejada]. I’m excited that Izzy’s back. I love Izzy. He’s a great guy to still have on our team. He brings a lot. So far, we’re in a good spot. We’re certainly all looking forward to seeing what else takes place. We’re excited, but I don’t think we’re done. The next couple of moves will be pivotal to how far we can go.”
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