Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts' work this spring has been confined to the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex, but on Tuesday he took a considerable step forward in his recovery from multiple concussions by participating in pre-game batting practice and fielding drills before the Orioles' Grapefruit League game against the Rays.
"I think my doctor would probably agree that getting in an environment where there's a lot going on, that's a big step because that's a part of the progression ... trying to re-acclimate into those environments," Roberts said. "It's one thing to hit on the back field with three coaches shagging and another thing with all the guys out there and people in the stands and the music going and all that sort of stuff. I think each hurdle we overcome is a big step, but that's certainly one that hopefully will be a big one."
Roberts said getting back into a pre-game routine and being around his teammates was an enjoyable experience.
"It feels good to get back out there with the guys and hit in a group and joke around and take ground balls with guys and just be a part of a team," he said. "I've said that from Day One. You can't quantify what that means to somebody who's been a part of a team for so long and be separated for so long, too. That part of it itself makes for a good day."
Roberts, whose regimen is dictated by his doctors each day, said he's still not thinking about when he can play in a game.
"I really don't think about it too much," he said. "I think about today. That's it. I think about whether I'm close enough to take BP out there. It may sound cliché, but it's a been a long road and I'm really not trying to look too far in advance."