By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
8:02 PM EDT, July 4, 2013
CHICAGO — Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was tempted to give second baseman Brian Roberts a day off defensively and bat him at designated hitter in Thursday’s day-after-night game against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
But instead, Showalter kept Roberts at second base and gave him his first career start in the No. 6 spot in the lineup. He previously had two career at-bats in the sixth spot, most recently in 2003.
Roberts moved up in the order because Showalter gave starting catcher Matt Wieters a day off. And while Showalter still likes the spark Roberts, who returned from the disabled list Sunday, adds from the No. 9 spot after the veteran spent most of his career as a leadoff man, the Orioles manager is open to moving him around.
“I like the idea of Brian anywhere,” Showalter said. “I like him being in the lineup. Some things will fluctuate. We’re not married to it.”
He was 0-for-2 with a walk and scored the Orioles’ first run in Thursday’s walk-off 3-2 loss to the White Sox.
Showalter added that while he opted to not DH Roberts on Thursday because of good weather and a quick game Wednesday night, he said he will give Roberts DH days in order to keep the 35-year-old fresh. He said Roberts, who has been limited to 118 games by injuries since the beginning of the 2010 season, will DH one game in this weekend’s series at Yankee Stadium.
“Some people kind of go through rehab assignments like it’s something they go through to satisfy everybody,” Showalter said. “Brian, one thing that [Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson] was talking about and even [on rehab] in Sarasota, Brian knows the level that he’s got to be able to play at to help and his intensity level with his rehab assignments made us feel real confident that he was going to come back whole. He really got after it down there.
“A lot of guys [think], ‘I’m coming up and I’ve got to get through this and stay healthy,’” Showalter said. “Brian wanted to push himself and make sure everything was whole.”
Roberts, who was 5-for-12 in the first three games of the season before suffering a right hamstring injury, is 2-for-12 with a home run in four games since returning.
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