Perlozzo backs shaky Loewen

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Manager sees `good signs' despite 2 long HRs in first extended outing

May 29, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adam Loewen left his first extended major league outing on Saturday with a 9.64 ERA, but Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said he was mostly pleased with what he saw from the rookie.

In relief of an ineffective Erik Bedard, Loewen gave up four earned runs (all coming on two long Angels home runs), four hits and two walks, while striking out six over 4 1/3 innings.

"There were times when he really was pitching good," Perlozzo said. "He got some really good major league hitters out. His fastball looked pretty good and his breaking ball was much improved. He got himself in a couple of jams where he quit throwing all his pitches and he got hit and then he came back and made some good pitches. There were good signs from him."

Loewen's immediate future with the club is cloudy. The Orioles would prefer that he'd be starting in the minor leagues, but with Hayden Penn and Daniel Cabrera on the disabled list and other Orioles starters faltering, there is a need for a reliever who can log innings and also possibly make a spot start. The club is still unsure who will start Friday against the New York Yankees.

Loewen admitted that he'd feel more comfortable starting. "This is the job I have to do right now. I think I've adapted well to it," he said.

In his major league debut Tuesday in Seattle, the 22-year-old left-hander admitted that he struggled with nerves. He retired only one batter, walking one, hitting another and giving up an RBI hit.

"I wasn't nervous and trying to overthrow the whole time," Loewen said of his outing on Saturday. "I felt comfortable, like I could pitch the way I usually do. I thought I threw really well. It was just one bad pitch that really cost me. I wish I could have it back."

Injury report

Perlozzo said that Cabrera, on the disabled list with inflammation of his right shoulder, will likely go on a rehabilitation assignment this week with Double-A Bowie. The Orioles are hoping that Cabrera can return to pitch on June 6 against Toronto, or shortly thereafter.

Outfielder Jay Gibbons was away from the team yesterday to attend services for his mother, who died early last week. He is expected to return to Baltimore tomorrow and check in with the team's training staff about how his strained right knee is feeling.

"I think it's pretty much a matter of pain tolerance for [Gibbons]," Perlozzo said. "Hopefully, he'll be ready to go Tuesday. If not, I am sure it will be a day-to-day thing."

Not a good view

Count third baseman Melvin Mora among the Orioles who do not feel secure when Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero comes to the plate. On Saturday, Guerrero ripped an 0-2 pitch from Bedard right at Mora and the Orioles third baseman was unable to handle it.

"He almost killed Gibbons out there and Gibbons was playing like 500 feet [away]," Mora said. "Imagine if he hits it to third base. You don't make a mistake with this guy with two strikes and no balls. That [pitch], you'd better throw it in the sky."

No worries

In the past, Orioles officials have worried about the confidence of Bedard, who has had a tendency to get down on himself when he struggles. Bedard has won just once since April 20, and his ERA has gone from 2.77 to 5.67.

Despite that, Perlozzo said he has seen no signs of concern in Bedard's demeanor.

"I think his attitude is a lot better this year," Perlozzo said. "He's a lot more open. He works at his trade. We've just got to get him to pitch a little better. ... Erik's got great stuff. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we'll be able to ... make him as good as we think he is."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.