Chen to start? O's are unsure

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

0-5 lefty being discussed

Cabrera expected to throw on side today

June 02, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO | ROCH KUBATKO,SUN REPORTER

The Orioles remain undecided whether to keep struggling left-hander Bruce Chen in the rotation or give him a temporary assignment in the bullpen.

Manager Sam Perlozzo said further discussions on the matter would take place yesterday. Chen is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in 11 games, with 70 hits allowed in 49 innings. The 17 home runs against him are the most in the majors.

"We're still in the process of thinking what we want to do right there," Perlozzo said. "No matter what we do, I don't foresee Bruce being out of the rotation for an extended time by any stretch. We haven't decided that yet. We're still looking at it."

Chen didn't make it past the fourth inning Wednesday and left with the Orioles trailing 5-1. On the same night, Daniel Cabrera tossed four hitless innings at Double-A Bowie on an injury rehabilitation assignment, allowing one unearned run and striking out seven.

Cabrera is expected to throw on the side today and could be activated from the disabled list if he's ready. His next turn, if kept on normal rest, would fall on the same night as Chen's turn.

"If we decide that we want to keep Daniel on his five days, we could either push everybody back or let him pitch in that slot and just move Bruce back two more days," Perlozzo said. "I'd like to get a pretty good read on Daniel. I want to make sure he's totally OK to go in that spot. If he isn't, things will stay status quo. If he's OK, then we'll have to think about what we want to do."

Loewen gets call

After stating earlier this week that John Halama likely would start tomorrow, Perlozzo threw rookie Adam Loewen into the mix yesterday. Then he put Halama into last night's game.

With Halama replacing starter Erik Bedard after the third inning, it appears that Loewen will make tomorrow's start against the New York Yankees.

Loewen, 22, has made two relief appearances, allowing five runs, walking three and striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings.

"We have a young kid who kind of needs to pitch and he's a prospect, and we don't want him sitting around for very long," Perlozzo said before the game. "If we decide that's the way we want to go, that'll probably be the reason. And if we end up going with him, we can back him up with John.

"It'll be an organizational decision. I don't have a problem with Adam going out there, quite honestly."

Perlozzo is willing to expose Loewen to the Yankees, never an easy task for any pitcher, let alone a rookie fresh up from Double-A.

"This is the big leagues. They're all capable of hurting you," Perlozzo said. "It would be kind of exciting if that's the way it works out."

Fahey trying the outfield

Brandon Fahey has been taking fly balls in the outfield during batting practice, just as other utility infielders did in spring training.

It's Fahey's turn to play Ed Rogers, Eddy Garabito and Desi Relaford.

Perlozzo wants to see if Fahey can handle a different position, which would increase his value to the team and give the manager an extra move in the late innings. Fahey also could make a start in the outfield.

"Right now [Jeff] Conine and [Kevin] Millar have been swinging the bat a lot better. But if they were to struggle, it gives us an option to let him maybe start a game if we had to," Perlozzo said.

"He looks good. [Longtime manager] Gene Mauch said anybody who can play shortstop can play the outfield. He's a good kid. I can't imagine him not being able to handle some things."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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