Orioles manager Dave Trembley believes a lot of changes have to be made to the team's roster before next season, but he doesn't want any movement at the top of his lineup.
"I fully expect Brian Roberts to be the leadoff hitter on this ballclub for a long time because of what he means to this team, this community," Trembley said. "He is a guy that is a Baltimore Oriole. That simple. I don't see him going anywhere. I don't think he wants to go anywhere, which is good for us."
Roberts is signed through 2009, but if the club can't agree to an extension with its long-time second baseman early this winter, it's likely he again would be mentioned in trade talks, similar to the past two offseasons.
"I like being here. It's where I have been from Day One, and I don't really have anything else to consider otherwise at this point," said Roberts, who was drafted by the club in 1999 and made his big league debut in 2001. "I am under contract for next year, so I will be a Baltimore Oriole as far as I know."
In his pre-game news conference, Trembley said the team's main offseason priority would be to improve its rotation. Secondary needs include upgrading shortstop and creating more bullpen options.
"I think the first order of business is the starting pitching," Trembley said. "No question."
But he feels that second base and the leadoff spot should be set with Roberts. In turn, Roberts appreciates his manager's support.
"Anytime you are wanted by a team or an organization, it is a good thing," Roberts said. "Dave and I have had a good relationship from Day One. Yeah, he could have easily said, 'We'll see what happens,' I guess. But for him to want me here for a long time is great."
Sarfate prepares for surgery
Right-hander Dennis Sarfate will have surgery to shave a bone spur in his right clavicle Tuesday, and he expects to be fully recovered by mid- to late-February. Los Angeles Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the procedure.
"He said I'll be able to start throwing early January, and I think the way I go, it takes me pretty quick to get ready for a season. I think there'll be no problem," he said.
Sarfate fractured the clavicle near his right shoulder in April when he accidentally hit himself with a car door while moving into his apartment. He pitched with the injury until September, when he said the pain became too great.
When the fracture healed, Sarfate said, it created the bone spur.
"I should have just let my head take the brunt [of the car door], nothing up there anyway," Sarfate said. "But it's just one of those freak accidents, and you look back and think, 'Wow, I can't believe it was because of that.' "
Sarfate ended his first season with the team 4-3 with a 4.74 ERA in 57 games.
Miller has tear
Reliever Jim Miller has a partial tear in a tendon below his right shoulder and won't be able to do any baseball-related activities for six to eight weeks.
After talking to a doctor Sunday, he said, he will have a better idea whether he will treat it with rest or surgery.
"The good news is it has nothing to do with my shoulder," said Miller (0-2, 1.17 ERA). "And now we are trying to decide what the best course of action is."
Around the horn
Third baseman Melvin Mora (hamstring) was the designated hitter last night. ... Shortstop Juan Castro was originally in last night's lineup but was scratched because of a strained groin he injured Wednesday. Brandon Fahey replaced him in the lineup. ... Reliever Jamie Walker had a magnetic resonance imaging on his left elbow Thursday and will get the results this weekend. He said he expects to get a second opinion in the offseason.
Saves closer George Sherrill needs in the Orioles' final two games to tie Lee Smith's 33 in 1994 for most by a first-year Oriole