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Roberts likely to get epidural on back, too

The decision to put Brian Roberts on the disabled list with a strained abdominal muscle is not good for the struggling Orioles' short term.

But it may help out as the season progresses, because Roberts back still isn't right and he likely will get another epidural shot for his herniated disk.

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"They told me it was an abdominal strain. I don't if there's something else going on with the back issue. I'm not sure about that," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Obviously it is a major loss. We're going to have to pick up the pieces and fill in as best we can. He's very valuable to the club. The guy that sets the tone for us offensively. You can't replace it; you just try and do the very best you can to fill in while he's gone."

Second baseman Justin Turner was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and Julio Lugo is expected to get a lot of playing time at second as well. Roberts could come off the disabled list April 25, but if he still is dealing with the back issue it could be longer.

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Roberts was scheduled to have an MRI on his back Monday; the results weren't known at 4 p.m. However, the belief is if the doctors don't see anything unexpected in the MRI, then Roberts will receive another epidural in the herniated disk in his back.

If something unexpected is discovered through the MRI, then various treatment options will be weighed.

Roberts had an epidural in Baltimore on March 15 and played in six games at the end of spring, hitting just .211 in 19 at-bats. He played in the Orioles' first four regular season games, hitting .143 (2-for-14) before injuring his abdomen while stealing a base in the first inning of Friday's home opener.

The abdomen strain may take another "five or six or seven days" to heal. But the layoff will also give Roberts time to rest his back. He won't be able to do any baseball activities for a few days if he has the epidural.

Trembley said Roberts wouldn't go with the team on next week's road trip to the West Coast, and he probably will have to participate in a rehab assignment, either at one of the Maryland affiliates or down at the minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla.

--Dan Connolly

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