The Orioles are understandably excited to have Brian Roberts back in the lineup for a variety of reasons. He's the quality leadoff hitter they have been missing since he fell out of the lineup last year and his return to the infield frees up versatile Robert Andino to shore up the spotty defense elsewhere.
The fact that Roberts has delivered a multi-hit game in his first regular season appearance in 13 months is just a bonus.
There is some question just how far back Roberts can get at this point in his career. He missed most of the past two seasons and he's 34 years old, so it's fair to wonder what he has left in the tank. But there was general agreement in the Orioles clubhouse that the team got significantly better the moment he re-entered the lineup.
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"I think so," said catcher Matt Wieters. "Any time you can get a guy with his resume back in the lineup, it's a welcome change."
Clearly, Roberts' younger teammates hold him in great regard, especially after what he's gone through the past couple of years.
"You can't imagine how many tough situaitons he's had to push through to be able to get where he's at today,'' Wieters said. "A lot of lesser people would have given up by now, but he kept fighting."
Still, Roberts faces quite a challenge coming back from such a long layoff, but Wieters thinks he'll do just fine.
"It's a challenge for guys who are playing every day,'' Wieters added. "His kind of ability. His kind of talent. Just the kind of baseball player he is. He's a baseball mind who knows how to think through things, and all the experiences he's had will help him come back this time. He's a force at the top of the lineup and he's a guy you want on that field."