Spring training position battles

Baltimore Orioles: Second Base

Wigginton may need to cover for Roberts: We noted last week that Brian Roberts' herniated disk was keeping him out of Grapefruit League action. Well, now it's keeping him out of Florida altogether. The Baltimore Sun reported that Roberts is headed to Baltimore to have his back checked out by a specialist.

For what it's worth, Roberts insists he will be ready by the Orioles' April 6 opener, but that might be wishful thinking, especially if his checkup reveals his injury is a bigger problem than he's letting on. For their part, the Orioles seem to be covering their bases: Utility man Ty Wigginton is getting extra reps at second base, and the team is looking into other options outside the organization, according to Peter Schmuck and Jeff Zrebiec.

If needed, Wigginton -- who has played 128 games at second in his career -- should be a capable every-day fill-in on offense, but Baltimore would have a gaping hole atop the lineup.

Eric Karabell

Time to downgrade Roberts in fantasy

"Well, I say now it is time to worry about Brian Roberts ... Certainly this could be precautionary, and nothing for the Orioles or fantasy owners to worry about, but it's also a mere three weeks until Opening Day. Call me concerned. Second base is far from strong from a fantasy angle, but I'm starting to think Roberts is similarly risky as shortstop Jose Reyes. A Roberts DL stint might not kill his second base rank, but he'd surely drop from our top 40, down a few rounds at least. This news also makes me think a speculative late AL pick of Ty Wigginton makes sense. The guy does have power."