ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- As the visiting clubhouse at Tropicana Field cleared out and the Orioles packed up for their flight back home to Baltimore, second baseman Brian Roberts slowly limped to his locker, visibly downtrodden.
Roberts had just been carried off the field after injuring his right hamstring while stealing second base in the ninth inning of the Orioles' 6-3 win Thursday over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Roberts, who was looking forward to playing in his first home opener since 2011, now appears to be out indefinitely. He will see team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens and have an MRI on Friday in Baltimore.
"Just the bottom part of the hamstring [is] where he felt it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after the game. "It's early. ... [I'm] not going to say he's going to be able to play [Friday]. "We'll reassess it [Friday]and see where we are. He's in some discomfort."
The 35-year-old Roberts, who entered this season having played just 115 games over the last three seasons because of various injuries, slid headfirst across the second base bag and came up holding his right leg in obvious pain. He was carried off the field by head trainer Richie Bancells and first-base coach Wayne Kirby.
Roberts said he's never had trouble with his hamstring before and said he didn't know whether the injury occurred on his final stride to the base or on his slide.
"I don't know," Roberts said. "Somewhere in the last couple of steps, I felt something kind of pop in the back of my knee. I don't know what happened exactly. … We'll just wait and gather some information [Friday]."
Over the past three years Roberts battled concussion symptoms, and a torn hip labrum ended his 2012 season and required surgery. But he was optimistic that he has finally conquered his injury-riddled past.
As spring training progressed, Roberts became reaccustomed to the game, even with sliding headfirst into bases. He embraced a new role as the team's No. 9 hitter and began the season 5-for-12.
"He's been struggling for the past three years and he's a great, great teammate," said right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, Thursday's winning pitcher. "[He] battles, plays hard and that's what you want in a teammate. I feel bad about him … and I hope he comes back quickly. And I think he will. He said he's hurting a little bit, but he will be back."
After being forced from the game Thursday, Roberts was clearly disheartened.
"Not too great," Roberts said. "I don't know. I don't have a whole lot of words for it right now. Frustrated, but we'll get the results and hopefully move forward."
Arrieta eager for opener
Right-hander Jake Arrieta will start his third straight home opener when he faces the Minnesota Twins on Friday at Camden Yards. While Arrieta's been through the experience before, he still expects to take in all the excitement of the day.
"Emotionally, it's going to be very similar," Arrieta said. "I've been asked by a lot of people, 'How are you going to control your emotions or contain your emotions?' and my response is that I'm not going to. I'm not even going to attempt to keep everything contained. I think that's what makes this situation so special. You get to feel the euphoric feeling and the adrenaline rush that's associated with a situation like this."
Arrieta, who threw seven shutout innings and earned the win in last season's regular-season opener against the Twins, said he's excited to get back to Baltimore to experience the atmosphere.
"It's almost like a bottled-up excitement ready to explode," Arrieta said. "That's the state Baltimore is in right now and we all feel that. Even though ... we haven't been there in some time, for me, the playoff series against the Yankees felt like yesterday. I think that's part of the emotion that will arise when I get to the ballpark on Friday."
Betemit has successful surgery
Orioles designated hitter Wilson Betemit underwent exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday, but the procedure isn't expected to extend Betemit's initial recovery time of six to eight weeks from a Grade 2/3 posterior cruciate ligament tear in the knee.
"They went in just to look and repair a couple of minor things, so everything in there was good news, Showalter said. "The anterior cruciate ligament is really good and the PCL looks like it's going to heal."
Betemit injured his right knee while running the bases during a Grapefruit League game on March 25, falling to the ground in pain between first and second base. At the time, Showalter feared the injury might be worse.
"The prospects for a full recovery are good," Showalter said Thursday. "It wasn't an injury-specific surgery. It was to make sure, and there were some things they wanted to clean out. They didn't say anything about loose bodies."
The procedure was performed by Wilckens in Baltimore.
Dylan Bundy placed on DL
Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy was placed on the minor league seven-day disabled list Thursday with tightness in his throwing elbow.
The Orioles see the move as purely precautionary, and Showalter said Bundy has resumed throwing with no problems after he was shut down over the weekend.
An MRI on Bundy's right elbow showed no structural damage but showed mild tightness in a muscle in the elbow area.
The 20-year-old Bundy is a consensus top three prospect in the game. He was 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 starts last year in his first pro season, going from low Class-A Delmarva to Bowie before the Orioles made him a late-season call-up.
Orioles add RHP Stinson
The Orioles claimed right-hander Josh Stinson off waivers from the Oakland A's and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk, the team announced Thursday.
The 25-year-old Stinson was been claimed by Oakland on Friday after spending this spring with the Milwaukee Brewers, going 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 10 relief appearances.
The Orioles transferred left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who isn't expected back from Tommy John surgery until June 1 at the earliest, to the 60-day DL to make room for Stinson on the 40-man roster.
Stinson has made 20 major league appearances — all but one in relief — over the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the New York Mets and Brewers, going 0-2 with a 4.43 ERA. He will pitch in the starting rotation at Triple-A Norfolk, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said.
"[He has] a good fastball, is a strong-built kid [and has] a good slider," Duquette said in a text message.
Around the horn
Right-hander Steve Johnson, who is on the DL on with a lat strain, began a long-toss throwing progression and had no complaints. … Gonzalez and former Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles will sign autographs at a team rally at the Town Mall in Westminster on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Also on Saturday, right-hander Tommy Hunter and former Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets will make and appearance at the Under Armour Brand House (700 S. President St. in Baltimore) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.