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Roberts' stomach feeling better

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts made a quick stop at his locker yesterday, but he hasn't participated in workouts the past two days because of a stomach condition that caused him to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital early Wednesday morning.

Roberts said he woke up at 4 a.m. with severe stomach pain and underwent urine and blood tests and a CT scan before being released about 3 1/2 hours later. He was examined by a doctor yesterday afternoon, and the Orioles aren't sure whether he'll return to practice today.

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"Yeah, it was scary," Roberts said. "I didn't know what was going on at 4 o'clock in the morning when I wake up from a dead sleep. I don't wake up for anything usually."

Roberts described the symptoms as "very, very, very sharp pains in the stomach."

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"I feel better finally today," he said. "It just kind of gradually started going away. They think it's a kidney stone, but I didn't have the excruciating pass of it. It must have broken up or something. It was more the original onset that was so bad."

Asked if he's experienced anything that painful, Roberts said, "I never had a kid, but other than that ..."

Roberts hadn't been hospitalized since dislocating his left elbow and tearing a tendon and ligament at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 20, 2005.

"It wasn't that much fun then, either," he said. "This one was better than the other one. I can say that."

Millar vs. Dempster

Kevin Millar's guarantee earlier this week that the Orioles will win the World Series, where he'll homer off Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, reached the ears of his friend and former teammate. And it was Dempster's turn to playfully fire back yesterday at the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz.

"It's kind of hard to go deep off me if you're wearing one in the ribs every time up," he said.

"If he wants to do that, you can tell him that I welcome the challenge. We play them this year, right?"

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The Orioles visit Wrigley Field June 24-26.

"I welcome that any day of the week," Dempster said. "Hopefully, I'll be scheduled to start."

Back in Fort Lauderdale, Millar held a printout of Dempster's comments and orchestrated an impromptu news conference.

"If Dempster threw it at my ribs, that means he's trying to go down and away," Millar said. "He has no command, no control of any fastball he throws, so he can't tell anybody where he's going to throw the baseball. The young man made the [2000] All-Star team with the Fighting Fish [Florida Marlins] because they had to take somebody. The guy's lived off the 2000 All-Star stuff for many, many, many years, and I'm tired of hearing about it.

"There's a Budweiser sign in Wrigley Field. He'll try to throw the fastball down and away, and it might get away from him and hit me. The next at-bat, he's going to try to throw a hanging slider and I'm going hit it off the Budweiser sign."

Around the horn

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Manager Dave Trembley said he likes the way outfielder Jay Payton has swung the bat. "Jay is a lot further ahead this spring, from what I see, than last spring," Trembley said. ... A female fan sitting behind the dugout spotted team president Andy MacPhail and yelled, "Thank you for everything you're doing for us." MacPhail smiled and replied, "I appreciate it. Hopefully, you'll feel the same way in July."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com


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