Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts knew the significance of Wednesday's date.

It marked the one-year anniversary of Roberts' last game, when his headfirst slide at Fenway Park triggered a second wave of concussion symptoms May 16, 2011.

Roberts said Wednesday that he has thought about the date — and about being out of the game for a full year — but that it helps that he feels closer than ever to a return. Roberts, who averaged 152 games a year from 2004 through 2009, has played in just 98 games since the beginning of the 2010 season.

"I thought about it a lot today, actually," Roberts said before the Orioles' series opener in Kansas City. "It's one of those things you try to look back on and see what you've learned and what God's tried to teach you through it. I think it happened for a reason. He's in control of it, but at the same time, it doesn't mean it hasn't been extremely hard and very frustrating at times. But at the same time, I'm very grateful for where I am today."