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Orioles Notebook: Roberts could be back before All-Star break

BALTIMORE - Brian Roberts returned to his locker inside the Baltimore Orioles' clubhouse Monday afternoon, the first time in a while the injured second baseman has seen the friendly confines.

And Roberts said it's possible he'll be back before the All-Star break. For now, he's choosing to finish his rehabilitation with the club rather than stay in Sarasota, Fla.

"It doesn't make it any faster necessarily," said Roberts, who hasn't played since April 4 when he suffered a right hamstring injury at Tampa Bay. "But that way they see a little bit more of what's going on, they know where we are in the progression. I don't think we have a timeframe, still at this point, but we're certainly in the homestretch.

"There's nothing that compares to being in this atmosphere. You don't get to do it for a real long time, all things considered, in your career and in your lifespan. So every chance I get to be in this atmosphere, I want to be in it. I don't know how much longer I have left to be in it and I want to be around it as much as possible."

Roberts, 35, has spent much of the past three-plus seasons on the disabled list, with 118 games played since 2010, and endured everything from abdominal and groin strains to lingering concussion symptoms to the latest injury that required surgery in early May. The timetable was a minimum of six weeks post-surgery, which would be at some point following this seven-game homestand.

While he didn't set a firm timetable for his return, Roberts said things are going well. And he's glad to be back.

"This one's going to be a lot shorter than last year, but I think that's part of it ... to stay connected and to feel like you're part of the team still," Roberts said. "We're not looking to get any miracle solution out of this. It just happened to be one of those things that I brought up and they kind of agreed that it was a good idea."

Getting back to full speed is Roberts' biggest hurdle these days, he said. Roberts rejoined the team in Tampa over the weekend and convinced manager Buck Showalter and some of the powers that be to return to Baltimore.

"It's great to be back, certainly. You definitely feel kind of isolated on an island down there," Roberts said. "It's always good to be around the guys, always good to feel like you're part of the team."

Roberts said he doesn't plan on putting together a lengthy rehab assignment in the minors, and that his baseball activities have increased in the last few days. Running without pain and making all the cuts and pivots is his main objective right now.

And Showalter seems to trust his veteran second baseman.

"He knows the level of what has to be done here. He knows when it's right and he knows when it's not," the manager said. "He's not going to put himself in a position not to contribute. I'm going to lean towards what Brian's telling me. He deserves that, and he's earned that. I trust him and that he's going to say, 'I'm ready' unless he is."

INJURY UPDATE: Showalter said left fielder Nolan Reimold might be able to go on a rehab assignment before the homestand comes to an end Sunday. Reimold (right hamstring) is on the 15-day DL and hasn't played since mid-May. Reimold was hitting .188 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 31 games before his injury.

"Things are moving pretty good with Nolan," said Showalter, who added that Reimold has been seeing a physical therapist in Baltimore.

HE BE JAMMING: Showalter said he decided to rest Alexi Casilla on Monday after the second baseman jammed his right index finger stealing second base Sunday in Tampa. Showalter said Casilla was sore but should be OK after a day's rest. He had two hits and two RBIs in the Orioles' 10-7 win over the Rays.

"I was contemplating playing him [Monday], but wasn't sure," Showalter said. "[Tuesday] he's going to go out and throw a little bit, see how it feels. ... It's just part of playing a game that you play every day."

BUNDY TIME: Showalter said pitcher Dylan Bundy threw 25 pitches from about 60 feet Monday in Sarasota and didn't experience any problems. Bundy has been shelved so far this year with tightness in his forearm and right elbow.

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