BALTIMORE - Members of the Baltimore Orioles and their fans alike had been looking forward to seeing veteran second baseman Brian Roberts run onto the Camden Yards field for Opening Day on Friday, finally healthy after three injury-marred seasons.
They saw Roberts take the field on Friday, but it wasn't a pretty sight.
The 35-year-old did not run down the orange carpet from center field with the starters. Rather, he hobbled out from the dugout, walking gingerly to meet his teammates on this infield dirt shortly after being placed on the disabled list.
"The last thing I want to do is to be sitting on the sidelines," said Roberts after the Orioles' 9-5 win over the Minnesota Twins. "I just never wanted to be the guy who was hurt very often. Unfortunately, it hasn't gone that way lately."
Roberts suffered what the team termed a strained hamstring, rupturing a tendon behind his right knee while stealing a base in the ninth inning of Thursday's win at Tampa Bay. He had to be carried off the field and is expected to miss three to four weeks.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the MRI result was actually good news because the injury wasn't higher in the leg.
"As good as bad can be," Roberts said. "Three to four weeks is better than three to four months."
Still, it was a major setback for Roberts, who spent Opening Day last season on the DL and played one fewer game this season before going on the DL than he did in 2010 before hitting the DL. In all, Roberts entered this season having played only 115 games over the past three seasons.
"It's tough for him," Showalter said. "We'll get through it. Tougher things going on in this world than this. But I think everybody feels for him because we know how hard he worked to get to this point."
Yamaico Navarro was called up from Class AAA Norfolk to take Roberts' place on the 25-man roster. Ryan Flaherty took Roberts' place in the lineup.
Roberts is headed back to Florida to rehab the injury, beginning in the pool. He plans to take a few days to get the swelling down before resuming any activity.
Showalter said he still expects Roberts to be a key contributor this season.
"Just because things are delayed doesn't mean they're denied," Showalter said. " It's something that ... will heal and he'll play for us this year. We'll hold down the fort until he comes back."