Orioles activate Roberts

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles activated second baseman Brian Roberts from the 60-day disabled list Friday and put him in the starting lineup against the Minnesota Twins.

Roberts hasn't played in the majors since April 9. He was sidelined by a strained abdominal muscle and a herniated disk in his back. His return was delayed by a series of epidural shots for his back and a bout with pneumonia.

Roberts was back in his customary leadoff spot Friday night after participating in the first four of Baltimore's 95 games.

"These guys are probably exhausted and it is like Opening Day for me," he said. "I'm looking forward to just getting out there and playing. It has been a long time."

The two-time All-Star has been lobbying since Monday to return, and the team complied with Roberts' request after his abbreviated three-day rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie.

"I just told them I was ready, and at that point it was their decision," Roberts said. "They knew I wanted to play but obviously they also have the best interests of myself and other guys on the team as well. So I think they just had to weigh all those options."

The Orioles hesitated because they didn't want him to play in Toronto, Baltimore's destination after Sunday's game against Minnesota.

"We were trying not to have him back so we wouldn't take a chance and have him play on the turf in Toronto, but he stated that he's ready to go and that we feel like he knows his body better than anybody else," interim manager Juan Samuel said.

"At the same time we want to be a little bit careful. We will probably play him a couple days here, give him a day off, probably play him the first game in Toronto see how he feels," Samuel said.

To make room for Roberts on the 25-man roster, the Orioles designated utility infielder Scott Moore for assignment. The decision came down to Moore or veteran Julio Lugo, the only player on the team with extensive experience at shortstop behind starter Cesar Izturis.

"We wanted to keep somebody who would give us a hand at short and Lugo was that guy," Samuel said. "We talked to Scotty Moore and he understood that situation."