Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was not cleared Tuesday to begin baseball activities during his third appointment with concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins, a development that pushes back his return to the team's lineup until late July at the earliest.
Roberts, who hasn't played since May 16, when he started getting headaches after sliding headfirst into first base to beat out a game-starting infield single against the Boston Red Sox, will be evaluated in two more weeks.
"Some progress, but Dr. Collins is going to re-evaluate in two weeks," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.
Roberts has improved, but he's still experiencing concussion symptoms, including exercise-induced headaches. The second baseman is permitted to do some conditioning activities going forward. However, he's on a limited program.
Roberts has had two concussions in the past 61/2 months. He has played in just 39 of the Orioles' first 71 games after missing 103 games last season because of a herniated disk in his back and a concussion sustained when he hit himself on the helmet with his bat after striking out.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke to Roberts in the lobby of the team hotel Monday night. However, Roberts did not appear at PNC Park and he's scheduled to fly back to the team's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday morning.
"I just got the timeframe more than anything," Showalter said. "As far as what's going on between now and then, it probably wouldn't be too much different from what he's been doing, I would think."
Arrieta, injury updates
A day after he removed Jake Arrieta from the game after just five innings and 87 pitches, Showalter acknowledged that the young starter is dealing with physical issues that could result in his next start getting pushed back or skipped.
"We will see how Jake is feeling," Showalter said. "[He] wasn't as crisp last night, the last two or three innings, velocity and everything else. We talked about taking advantage of some of the off days. So we will see how he's feeling the next day or two."
Asked what issues Arrieta is dealing with, Showalter didn't elaborate, saying only, "He's got similar stuff that he's had in the past."
Arrieta complained of hip soreness this season after a start in Chicago. He also has a bone spur in his right elbow that he opted to not get removed late last season.
Reliever Alfredo Simon (strained right hamstring) is expected to resume throwing soon, and Showalter said the big right-hander would probably be available close to Tuesday, when he's eligible to come off the disabled list.
Infielder Cesar Izturis (right elbow surgery) is also making good progress and could return near the All-Star break, Showalter said.
Coaching staff moves
Minor league catching instructor Don Werner will take over as the Orioles' bullpen coach, starting with Friday's series opener against the Cincinnati Reds. Terry Crowley, an organizational hitting consultant, has been the bullpen coach on this road trip after pitching coach Mark Connor's resignation June 14. That pushed previous bullpen coach Rick Adair into the pitching coach role.
Werner will fill in until Aug. 1, then his role will be re-evaluated. Werner, a former big league catcher, has been in the Orioles' organization for nine years, the past five as a roving catching instructor.
"One, he's an Oriole. He throws good batting practice. I was really impressed with him this spring," Showalter said. "A good fit for us. From an organization standpoint, it probably taxes us the least as far as what you are taking them away from. I think we are going to do it until Aug. 1, and see where we are with it and kind of see where we are with some of the catchers in the system."
In other coaching news, bench coach Willie Randolph coached third base for a second straight game in place of John Russell, and Showalter didn't rule out continuing that arrangement after Pittsburgh series. Russell has had knee issues, and Showalter also said that he wanted the former Pirates manager and coach to be closer to him in the dugout for the series.
"We're lucky to have multiple guys that can do that," Showalter said. "We'll see where we are when we get through here. It fits the club where we are right now a little better and takes advantage of the needs of the players a little better."
Around the horn
Left fielder Luke Scott (back spasms) returned to the lineup after missing two games. … The Pirates celebrated the 40th anniversary of their 1971 World Series championship team, which beat the Orioles in seven games, in a pre-game ceremony. Twenty members of that club took part in the ceremony, and both current teams wore uniforms from the 1971 season. … Orioles head athletic trainer Richie Bancells left the team and headed to New Orleans to accept the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award from the National Athletic Trainers Association. Minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker joined the club in Bancells' absence. … Right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake (Navy) was promoted from Single-A Frederick to Triple-A Norfolk.
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