knew going into his minor league rehab assignment with short-season Class-A Aberdeen that it might be the last few innings of baseball he would play this season.
A second opinion on the torn labrum in his right
gave the second baseman optimism that he might be able to return to help the Orioles for the stretch run. An initial review suggested surgery. Roberts wanted to test his own limits, and in his first game with Aberdeen on Saturday, he played the entire game.
But less than 24 hours after a 0-for-4 night in his first action since July 1, the 34-year-old Roberts decided he will end another injury-riddled season on the disabled list.
Roberts announced Sunday that he's opted to have season-ending hip surgery to repair the tear, turning the page on 2012 with hopes of returning by the beginning of next season.
“It just hasn't responded the way we were hoping it would,” Roberts said before Sunday's game against the
. “We kind of knew this was a possibility going into it, but we wanted to give it the best possible shot we could to get back out there and try and help for the last two months of the season. But it's not going to put me in a position to play the way I want to play and the way that I think it's necessary to help.”
Roberts, who said he faces four to six months of rehabilitation, ultimately decided it would be better to have the surgery now to give himself a better chance to return fully healthy next season — he said doctors gave him a 95 percent success rate for surgery — than try to haphazardly get back on the field this season. He has missed most of the past three seasons on the DL.
“I might be able to get out there and battle through 100 at-bats this next month or two of the season, and they might be so-so. I don't know,” Roberts said. “But the main goal right now is to get ready for 600 good at-bats for 2013. ...
“That's the consensus we came to: Let's be ready to go for a healthy 2013 because we all believe that we are having a great year this year and that we will have an even better year next year, and I want to be a part of that in a healthy way.”
The procedure hasn't been scheduled yet, but it will be performed by renowned hip specialist Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail, Colo., likely within the next seven to 10 days. Roberts said he spoke with Ravens safety Ed Reed, who had a torn hip labrum surgically repaired by Philippon in 2010.
Roberts, who signed a four-year, $40million contract in February 2009, has been limited to 115 games since the beginning of the 2010 season. After suffering multiple concussions, he returned from a 13-month absence in mid-June, but his comeback lasted just 17 games before he returned to the DL with the hip injury.
He was hitting .182/.233/.182 with one homer and five RBIs this season. He is making $10 million this season and is slated to make $10 million in 2013.
“The good news is the concussion part of it seems to be something that's not on his mind any more, so that's good,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He'll go to Colorado and get it done, and he should be ready to go and be a big part of our club next year.”
Roberts said he will remain in Vail for a month to begin rehab, the way the Ravens' Reed did. Roberts would then return to the Orioles'
complex in Sarasota, where he lives in the offseason.
“It's been a long two years,” Roberts said. “It certainly hasn't gone the way I would have drawn it up, but as we all know life doesn't always go the way you plan it. It's very hard to sit here and watch these guys play those games. I was in Sarasota, [Fla.,] on Friday night. To see the atmosphere in the stadium on TV and to see the excitement in the dugout and not be able to be a part of that after so many years here of playing in atmospheres that weren't like that, it's really hard.
“That's why I wanted to give it one more chance,” he added. “I want to be a part of this, but I also want to do so in a way that benefits the team and isn't a detriment to the team. I'm not going to be selfish enough to go out there and just be a part of it if I don't think I can help.”