Brian Roberts, Jesus Flores and Jorge Jimenez are in the Grapefruit League news for Monday.
Brian Roberts swung a bat yesterday for the first time this spring, but the Orioles second baseman is far from out of the woods. The 32-year-old is suffering from a herniated disk in his back that was originally misdiagnosed as a kidney stone.
One of the most dependable sources of stolen bases since becoming a full-time player in 2003, Roberts is reaching the age where age is an issue. The annual drop in his steals total is so linear, you can guess what 2009 may hold. Roberts stole 50 in 2007, 40 in 2008 and 30 last season.
I readily admit that I may also be bitter about having traded away Jason Heyward to Ron Shander for Roberts in a failed late-season push to try to win the XFL keeper league two years ago.
Washington’s good-hitting catcher, but weak-shouldered thrower Jesus Flores, hasn’t yet been cleared for full baseball activities coming off late-season 2009 surgery. Nationals officials are making very cautious statements about Flores, who batted .301 last season, but made just 106 plate appearances. I guess they knew what they were doing when they signed Pudge Rodriguez, as backup Wil Nieves is hardly a threat.
Word out of Marlins camp is that Rule 5 pick up Jorge Jimenez is an interesting dark horse to not only stick, but perhaps win the third base job. It would require the first base tandem of Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez to tank, pushing Jorge Cantu across the diamond. Jimenez hits left-handed and can play both corners. The 25-year-old had been taken from the Red Sox by Houston and then moved to the Fish in the Matt Lindstrom trade.