Roberts joins Team USA lineup

Roberts joins Team USA lineup

MIAMI -- For months, Brian Roberts heard that he was on Team USA's provisional roster. He officially found out on Saturday night that he was when he received a call asking if he could replace Dustin Pedroia.

Roberts joined Team USA on Sunday afternoon, taking over at second base for Pedroia, who it out of the Classic with a left oblique strain.

Pedroia, the Red Sox All-Star, left Team USA on Saturday night, returning to Fort Myers, Fla., where he was re-examined by Boston's doctors.

The only second baseman on the provisional roster, Roberts had a short drive to hook up with Team USA in Miami. He played on Saturday for the Orioles at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

Roberts was in the lineup on Sunday night, starting at second and batting second in an elimination game with The Netherlands.

Until he was contacted by Team USA, he admitted he wasn't sure he was on a provisional roster.

"I never heard from anybody. My trainer in Baltimore made me fill out a piece of paper saying that I was on it," Roberts said. "Last night was the first time I found out I really was."

Initially, when Team USA was calling, Roberts was not able to be reached. The Orioles played the Red Sox on Saturday, and the second baseman inadvertently left his cellular phone in the stadium locker.

Roberts was out with family members when he was tracked down and told that his services were needed for Team USA.

The decision to join the team was strictly his. He was the only other second baseman.

"They told me I was pretty much their only option. The choice is yours," Roberts said.

Roberts played on a United States national team in 1997 while he was still in college. He called it an honor to wear his country's logo on his jersey.

"It's a great opportunity and an honor," he said. "I represented our country in 1997 when I was on the USA team in college. I know what it means to put the jersey on. This is obviously a little bigger stage. I'm honored to be here."

Roberts has appeared in eight Grapefruit League games, and he has 23 at-bats to go along with a .217 batting average.

Since the Classic began, he's been following. He says the United States-Canada game in the first round was one of the best he's seen in a while.

"For us as players, this is as good as it gets to put this on your chest and go out and compete against other countries," he said.

The downside of the Classic is players aren't in top shape because this is the time of year they traditionally are preparing for the season.

"It's baseball. You can pick up a bat in December and maybe go 4-for-4 or maybe go 0-for-4," he said. "You can do that in the middle of the season too. You try to go out and let your natural instincts take over."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.