SARASOTA, Fla. -- Brian Roberts was held out of workouts again on Friday, as the Orioles' second baseman continues to deal with neck stiffness, but he said that if it was the regular season he would be able to play.
"You play during the season hurt at times, and this isn't anything that would cause me to miss any games if it was the season right now," said Roberts, who missed his third consecutive day of workouts.
"You play sometimes feeling like a 10 on days, and then on days when you feel like a two. I'm getting better every day, and it's much better than it was two days ago."
2010 Spring Training - Baltimore Orioles
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Roberts had X-rays taken on Wednesday, which came back negative. The pain was ruled a muscle spasm, and Roberts is leaving the decision on when he resumes workouts in the hands of the training staff.
"It's not my call," said Roberts, when asked if he would decide when he could return. "It's a group decision. This is the time of year when you want to get it completely healed before taking swings or making throws."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he would wait until Saturday before making any decision.
"He's a little improved," Showalter said. "We'll see what tomorrow brings."
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said there isn't any concern by the front office.
"There's no concern on our part, and there doesn't need to be," MacPhail said. "It's Feb. 25, and we'll take the prudent approach to the situation."
With Roberts coming off a season in which he played only 59 games due to a herniated disk in his lower back, the Orioles re-signed Cesar Izturis as a utility player, and inked Minor League deals with Nick Green and Brendan Harris to have options in the event that Roberts can't stay healthy. Robert Andino, who is competing for a bench spot, can also play second base.
Lee upbeat after his first batting practice
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Derrek Lee was admittedly nervous.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter had enough concern that he moved Lee's first day of batting practice on Friday to the end of the workout session, after a majority of players had left the fields at the Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla. He even had bench coach Wille Randolph handle the pitching duties.
But after watching Lee spray one ball after another into the strong headwind on field two, both the player and manager came away more than pleased.
"There were a lot of nerves," said Lee, who is rehabbing his surgically repaired right thumb. "I've never had surgery before, so I was nervous and anxious to see how it responded."
After bunting the first two pitches, the powerful 6-foot-5, 245-pound first baseman hit 33 pitches to all parts of the field, with 21 of them being line drives. After 23-year-old prospect Brandon Snyder took his turns hitting, Lee admittedly put more energy into his second and final round, in which six out of 13 attempts sailed deep into center field.
"It felt alright, especially in the sweet spot -- not necessarily when it went off the end of the bat, though," said Lee, who played through the 2010 season after injuring the thumb on Opening Day. "It was a good first step."
Showalter was happy with the results, as well.
"There was a little echo when the ball came off the bat," Showalter said. "It went well. A good start. He was pretty upbeat about it."
Lee played in 148 games for the Cubs and Braves in 2010, hitting .260 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs, his lowest totals in average and home runs for a full season since his rookie year in 1998 with the Marlins.
Lee said it would be a day-to-day situation before the team makes a decision on when he will play in a Spring Training game.
"It's still very early," Lee said. "They haven't talked about when it might be for a game, but obviously you don't want to fall too far behind. But it was a nice first step."
Orioles to hold intrasquad game on Sunday
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Buck Showalter said on Friday that the Orioles will play an intrasquad game on Sunday at remodeled Ed Smith Stadium.
The schedule calls for Ryan Drese, Adrian Rosario, Wynn Pelzer, Mike Ballard, Raul Rivero and Nick Bierbrodt to pitch for one team, with Chris Jakubauskas, Troy Patton, Chorye Spoone, Armando Gabino and Pedro Viola to take the hill for the other.
The Orioles also announced the starters for their first games of Spring Training.
Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman and Koji Uehara will pitch on Monday against the Pirates in the Grapefruit League opener. Paul Maholm will start for the Pirates.
On Tuesday, Jeremy Guthrie and Rick VandenHurk will take the mound for the Orioles against the Rays, while Tampa Bay will start Andy Sonnanstine.
Justin Duchscherer and Zach Britton will pitch Wednesday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. Brian Matusz and Rosario are scheduled to pitch on Thursday against the Twins at home, and Jake Arrieta and Drese will go against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. Tillman and Bergesen will pitch again when the Orioles face the Red Sox next Saturday.
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.