‘‘I just need to play. That’s going to be the biggest thing, to just get out there,’’ Roberts said. ‘‘I want to get game action. That’s the only way to get where you want to be physically and mentally and emotionally, to get out there and play and have some success and feel confident in your body and everything else that’s going on.’’
No matter what a team did during the offseason, a significant injury can ruin the best of plans. The Blue Jays look like contenders in the AL East after acquiring Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey, but Bautista was limited by those left wrist problems last year, hitting only 27 home runs after slugging 97 over the previous two seasons.
Atlanta was among the biggest newsmakers in the National League, signing B.J. Upton and trading for his brother Justin. But there’s still a question mark at catcher because Brian McCann is returning from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
The Dodgers have undergone a complete makeover since the start of last season, acquiring the likes of Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Zack Greinke. Crawford came over from Boston in August, but he hasn’t played for his new team because of reconstructive elbow surgery.
‘‘Physically, my body feels good,’’ Crawford said recently. ‘‘I think I can hit the cutoff man by opening day, but I don’t know if that’s when they'll want me to come back, so we'll just have to see how it goes.’’
You could put together a pretty good lineup just of players coming back from serious injuries or operations. Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit 30 home runs in 2011, but last season was ruined by a groin injury that required surgery.
‘‘We have the best shortstop in the game, the best shortstop on the field, back,’’ Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. ‘‘He’s a beast, Tulo. He plays with passion, but he plays the game the right way — hard.’’
Back in New York, the Yankees aren’t the only team with medical concerns. Johan Santana missed a year following shoulder surgery in September 2010, and although he looked plenty healthy last June 1 when he threw the first no-hitter in Mets history, his season ended in August because of ankle and back problems.
Now, after two Cy Young Awards and countless other accolades, the 33-year-old Santana is simply hoping he can perform the most basic of tasks — take the ball every fifth day and make it through a whole season.
‘‘What’s important right now is to stay healthy,’’ Santana said. ‘‘As far as numbers and all that, if I'm healthy and I'm there, I have a good chance to put up those numbers.’’
AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins, John Marshall and Janie McCauley contributed to this report.