It is only about a 45-minute ride from Brian Roberts' house in Sarasota to Tropicana Field, but the trip represented yet another difficult hurdle in the veteran second baseman's return from a concussion.

"It was a huge step for me to get in the car," said Roberts, whose voice cracked several times Friday as he talked with reporters while seated next to Orioles manager Buck Showalter. The 33-year-old was around some of his teammates for one of the first times since he last played May 16.

"I don't mean that in a negative way. I mean that because I take a lot of pride in wanting to be here, doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and [Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos] has put a lot of investment into me and my family. The Orioles have tried to count on me for a lot and I haven't been there, and that's hard for me. It's hard for me to walk in there and look guys in the eye, especially knowing what they've been through the last five months. I've been there and I've done it, and it's hard and it's rough. Coming to the field today is difficult for me … but I felt like it's something I needed to do to kind of break that barrier."

Roberts continues to work out and perform baseball activities at the team's spring training complex in Sarasota. However, he hasn't played in any games and said he won't until he's symptom-free. He acknowledges that will make it extremely difficult for him to return before the 2011 season is over.

"I don't think we've ever sat down and necessarily ruled out anything," Roberts said. "It would probably take, at this point, everything to go really, really, really well for the next couple of weeks. But I think all of our goals is just to get healthy, 100 percent symptom-free for an extended period of time, and be ready to play whenever that is."