Loewen reports no setbacks concerning left shoulder

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Former No. 1 draft pick was shut down last year

February 20, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Former Orioles No. 1 draft pick Adam Loewen, who was shut down last summer after he was found to have a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder that didn't require surgery, said he's been throwing for almost two months without any setbacks.

"There are no problems at all," he said yesterday. "I'm 100 percent for sure."

The left-hander was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts at Single-A Frederick after going 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 20 games at Single-A Delmarva. The injury occurred in late August and he experienced pain for about a week.

"I haven't felt anything since," he said.

"It was just the end of the year and my arm was wearing down. Maybe I strained something from throwing a slider. That stuff happens. It was nothing to worry about."

Loewen spent a month at the minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla., where he took part in a throwing program. He's back in Florida, at the same site that left a trail of bad memories.

In three spring training appearances last year covering one inning, Loewen ran up an 81.00 ERA by allowing nine earned runs. He walked seven and hit a batter before the Orioles shipped him to Sarasota.

"He's still a kid," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "You're intimidated when you come in. It's human nature to be in awe of what you see."

Loewen said he didn't come to camp ready to pitch last year after going four months without throwing, "which was not a good idea," he said.

The fourth player selected in the 2002 draft, Loewen must reach the majors by 2007 or be exposed to waivers under terms of his contract.

"I'll be there when I'm ready," he said. "If you try to rush yourself, you're going to end up backtracking and getting ahead of yourself trying to do too much, and you're not thinking about the task at hand."

Second thought

Brian Roberts will lead off again this season, but Mazzilli hasn't determined who will hit second. He has an interesting candidate in mind.

Though not a prototypical No. 2 batter, Jay Gibbons will be given consideration.

"He's a guy who can pull the ball through the right side of the infield," Mazzilli said.

It's more likely that Gibbons will bat seventh.

Mazzilli also said outfielders B.J. Surhoff and David Newhan won't be competing for roster spots. They made the team before camp even opened.

Newhan also will be given a look at second base as a possible backup to Roberts.

Starters to get most work

Pitching coach Ray Miller wants to give the projected starters most of the work this spring rather than divide the innings evenly.

He intends to have the starters accumulate around 30 innings, and the relievers to throw about 15.

"You can't be running a tryout camp in spring training when you're in the American League East," he said. "You better open the season with guys who are ready to go seven innings and the bullpen is up and ready to go."

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