But this was different. After missing 286 games combined over the last three seasons because of debilitating concussion symptoms, Roberts wasn't sure he'd ever play again. That absence also crippled the Orioles, who lost one of the sport's most underrated leadoff batters and a fine defensive second baseman. Between 2004 and 2009, Roberts belted 42 doubles or more five times and topped 50 three of those seasons. His OPS was consistently above .800.
So Roberts' emotion after his first game back this season was understandable. Manager Buck Showalter probably shed some tears, too -- though likely ones of joy. If Roberts, now healthy, is close to the player he was then the Orioles have added a huge presence to an already solid lineup. It might be enough to keep them in the American League East race all season.
- Brian McNally