Brian Roberts’ continuing injury saga will take on another chapter today when the Orioles second baseman visits a hamstring specialist in Dallas to determine why he is not responding as quickly as he had hoped after rupturing a tendon behind his right knee April 4.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that Roberts has spoken on the phone with Dr. Daniel Cooper — who operated in November to remove scar tissue from the hamstring of Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria — and Roberts will meet with Cooper face-to-face today.
Roberts, who has played just 118 games since signing a four-year, $40 million extension before the 2010 season, started all three games of the first series of the season at Tampa Bay before coming up lame after stealing second base in the series finale.
Originally expected to miss between three and four weeks, Roberts began light baseball activities last week, but he was still affected by the injury.
“He doesn’t feel like it’s moving at the pace he’s hoping, so he wanted to see [Cooper],” Showalter said. “What I heard is that he started taking some batting practice and he didn’t like the way it felt. ... I think he’s a little frustrated it hasn’t come faster.”
Thursday marks the fifth week that the 35-year-old Roberts has been out, but the club has not moved him to the 60-day disabled list yet, which would create another spot on its 40-man roster.
“We’ll see if there’s something else, but I’m not looking at it that way,” Showalter said. “I’m still holding out hope that this will get moving. I like the fact that we don’t have the need for a [60-day move] yet.”
Gonzalez won't start Thursday
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who left Friday’s game after six innings with a blister on his right thumb, will pitch a bullpen session Thursday, but he will not start against the Kansas City Royals on his regular turn.
Because pitchers typically take a day off after a work session, if Gonzalez doesn’t have his start skipped altogether, he’ll pitch Saturday at the Minnesota Twins.
The Orioles currently list Thursday’s starter as to be determined, but it likely will be veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia, who made his Orioles debut Saturday and would be on regular rest. Jason Hammel, who pitched Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, would then be the likely starter for Friday in Minnesota.
Gonzalez will throw his Thursday bullpen session with a bandage over the blister — something he is not allowed to do in a game. Gonzalez said the area feels fine now, but because the blister is where he bends his thumb, it will be important for him to keep the thumb straight to allow it to heal properly.
The condition is common for pitchers, but Showalter said the club needs to make sure it doesn’t become a lingering problem.
“Just about all pitchers have a callus,” Showalter said. “It’s good in a way that it broke or tore off, that it’s gotten all the way down to the bottom. Now, it’s a matter of it getting callused over.”
Around the horn
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy received a cortisone injection from Los Angeles Angels team doctor Lewis Yocum for a sore elbow before the club left Anaheim. Showalter said Hardy has been dealing with “an equivalent of a light case of tennis elbow.” ... Former Oriole right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is slated to start Thursday’s series finale. The Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers are the only teams Guthrie has not faced in his career. … Hammel, who started last year with a 6-1 record, is 5-1 heading into this weekend. With a win, he’d become the first Oriole since Mike Boddicker (6-1 in 1985 and 10-1 to start 1986) to go at least 6-1 to begin consecutive seasons, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Zach Britton started his 2011 and 2012 seasons at 5-1. … Kansas City right-hander Ervin Santana took a 13-inning scoreless streak into Tuesday’s start. He allowed three runs in the first inning. … Heading into Tuesday, pinch hitters for the Orioles and Royals were a combined 1-for-19. The Orioles’ pinch-hitters were hitless in nine at-bats.