Roberts Dislocates Elbow in O's Loss

Brian Roberts clutches his left elbow after 2nd-inning collision at first base.
Brian Roberts clutches his left elbow after 2nd-inning collision at first base. (By Ray Stubblebine -- Reuters)
By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 -- In a season gone bad in so many ways, there may not have been a more grim sight for the Baltimore Orioles than that of Brian Roberts, on his knees near first base, grimacing, wincing in pain and finally rolling on his back as team trainers examined his injured left arm.

In the second inning of a 12-9 loss to the New York Yankees, Roberts had raced over to cover first base when a bunt by the New York Yankees' Bubba Crosby was fielded by first baseman B.J. Surhoff. As Roberts reached for the throw, Crosby ran into his arm, bending it gruesomely.

In the third inning, the Orioles announced that Roberts had suffered a dislocated elbow and was being taken to a hospital. X-rays were negative, but Roberts spent the night in the hospital and is scheduled to see a specialist on Wednesday to determine if there is ligament damage.

Roberts won't return for the final 12 games of the year. The fear is that he might not be ready for the start of next season.

"I don't know what to say," third baseman Melvin Mora said. "It's a tough situation, especially when you lose one of the best leadoff men right now. A lot of things have gone on this year and this is the biggest one. To lose Brian Roberts is like losing half the team."

Immediately after the collision, Roberts grabbed his left arm and fell. Bernie Williams, who had advanced to third on the play, just stood at third even though the ball was on the ground near the first-base bag. Even Crosby held at first.

"Nobody knew what to do," Surhoff said. "After a little while, it was obvious he wasn't going to pick it up."

Williams ran home. Surhoff chased after the ball and then went to Roberts.

"I was just trying to comfort him any way I could," Surhoff said. "I didn't know what was wrong. It was more important to see if he was okay."

Once on his feet, Roberts almost collapsed in pain again. He finally got composed and walked slowly, with trainers holding the injured arm, into the Baltimore dugout and on to the clubhouse.

Nothing else about this game was as memorable as Roberts's injury, though Baltimore did rally to get close in the later innings. Otherwise it was just another win by the surging Yankees, who have beaten Baltimore four consecutive times, and have won eight of nine to sit a half-game out of first place in the American League East. During Baltimore's run in first place, the Orioles won five of the first six games against New York. Now they have lost five of six.

Roberts's injury seemed to hit Crosby hard. The two were teammates on the USA National team in 1997 and are friends. They had planned to have lunch next week in Baltimore.

"Listening to him you could tell he was in some serious pain," Crosby said. "My stomach just dropped. It even hits you harder when it's someone you know."

After the game, Crosby waited in the Yankees' clubhouse for an update on Roberts's condition. He hoped to visit him at the hospital soon.

"I might see him in the morning," Crosby said. "That's what I'm waiting here for."

The game began ugly, with New York scoring four runs, three on Jorge Posada's home run off John Maine, in the first inning and turned downright horrific during that second inning. Shortly after Roberts had left the field, Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo was ejected while inside the dugout. It appeared that Perlozzo believed Crosby was inside the baseline when he collided with Roberts. Upon being ejected, Perlozzo stormed out of the dugout to argue with home plate umpire Sam Holbrook.

"I really wasn't arguing in the first place, I was asking if he was running out of the baseline," Perlozzo said. "I guess I said something he didn't appreciate. I was just upset that my player was in tremendous pain. It wasn't the umpire's fault that it happened."

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