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Orioles' Roberts gets boost from seeing Morneau succeed

Justin MorneauBrian RobertsBaltimore OriolesOriole Park at Camden YardsMLB Most Valuable Player Award

Just a few hours before last Friday's season opener at Camden Yards, two close friends -- Brian Roberts and Justin Morneau -- caught up in the tunnel connecting the home and visitors clubhouses.

Roberts and the Morneau have become friends because they are among the few who truly understand what each other has been through. Roberts, the Orioles second baseman, is trying to come back from multiple concussions. And Morneau, a former AL MVP with the Twins, has gradually made that comeback.

Everything Roberts, who has been limited to 98 games the past two seasons, is going through -- including his most recent step of joining the team on the road to reacclimate to the ins and outs of travel -- Morneau has gone through it. 

"He was really encouraging to me, that there are going to be some bumps in the road, but you have to keep plugging away," Roberts said Friday in Toronto. "He still has bumps in the road. Unfortunately that’s part of it. I think if you don’t have somebody to walk alongside you it’s even harder."

And Roberts admits he gets a boost from seeing Morneau, who misses most of the final three months of the 2010 season and played just 69 games last year, back on the field this season and playing well. Morneau was 4-for-10 against the Orioles in the opening series of the year. And on Wednesday, Morneau hit his first homer since last May 31.

"Anytime you see someone suceed who has gone through something similar to you it helps," Roberts said. "When I came back from my elbow injury, there was only one guy who had an elbow injury similar to him and I talked to him. I think you always take positives from guys who have been through similar things. He’s a great friend. We’ve known each other for a long time. Talking to him had been very beneficial, seeing him play well and coming back playing well."

Roberts is joining the team on the road for the first time since last May. He will join the team in Chicago for the second leg of the three-city, 10-game road trip but it still hasn't been determined whether he will go to Anaheim for the last leg.

On Friday, Roberts participated in early batting practice, did pregame weight lifting and speed work and took part in pre-game batting practice, both hitting and fielding.

"I’d like to try to get early work in as much as possible because I don’t want to get in the way of the 25 guys that are still playing," Roberts said. "I don’t want to take away from their time to get ready for the game. So as often as we can do it I’ll do it early probably and the rest of the time I’ll be out there and get accustomed to watching the game and be out there for batting practice."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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