CHICAGO -- Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts found himself in an unusual spot in the order for Thursday's series finale against the White Sox, hitting sixth for just the fifth time in his 13-year career.
"I like the idea of Brian anywhere," manager Buck Showalter said of Roberts, who moved up from the ninth spot with catcher Matt Wieters getting the day off. "I like him in the lineup. So, some things will fluctuate. We are not married to [the batting order]."
Roberts, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Sunday, hasn't missed a beat since rejoining the Orioles following right hamstring surgery. Despite a lengthy layoff, Roberts has been playing solid defense at second base and delivered his first homer since 2011 in Tuesday's game.
"Some people kind of go through rehab assignments and stuff, like it's just something they got to go through to satisfy everybody. Brian knows the level that he's got to be ready to play at to help," Showalter said. "And his intensity level with his rehab assignment made us feel real confident that he was going to come back whole. ... From experience, a lot of guys know that, 'I'm coming up, I got to get through this and stay healthy.' Brian wanted to push himself and make sure everything was going to hold up."
Showalter was tempted to put Roberts at designated hitter for Thursday's series finale, but said that the way the 35-year-old has felt physically encouraged him to put him back at second base. While Roberts will likely get a half-day off during the team's upcoming series in New York, he's been rejuvenated in being on the active roster again for the first time since April.
"I don't think he takes anything for granted," Showalter said of Roberts, who hasn't played a full season since 2009 and is in the final year of a four-year contract. "Every time I've asked him, something about where he's going to hit or where he's going to play or whatever, he just says, 'Whatever the team needs. You got it. I'm in.' [Wednesday] night, I didn't think twice about putting the bunt [signal] down. Nothing is beneath Brian. He knows I trust him, and he trusts me."
Chen set to return to O's after final rehab start
CHICAGO -- Pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will make his second rehab start for Double-A Bowie on Thursday night and, assuming that goes well, he will drive to New York after that to meet the Orioles for their weekend series against the Yankees.
Chen, on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, will take his workday over the weekend and could start Tuesday or Wednesday against the Rangers, with the start determined by Bowie's weather issues.
"We built in a rain day if he has to pitch tomorrow, there [instead]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Chen's final rehab start with Bowie. "We would make it work either way. See where we are with Zach [Britton], see where we are with a lot of guys after we get through today."
The plan is for Chen to get around 90 pitches and go at least five innings before rejoining the team's rotation. The Orioles' most consistent starter the past two seasons, Chen is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA in eight games in 2013, including May 12's outing in Minnesota in which he exited early with the injury.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.