Hoey's season might be over

Orioles Notebook

Pitcher's weakened right shoulder has suspended his availability


September 24, 2006|By Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec | Roch Kubatko and Jeff Zrebiec,Sun Reporters

With his right shoulder weakened and his performance affected, Orioles rookie pitcher James Hoey could be shut down for the last week of the season.

Hoey hasn't pitched since Tuesday because of soreness in his shoulder. Though no damage is evident in his rotator cuff, he's bothered by inflammation in the muscles that surround it.

"He hasn't been available for a while," manager Sam Perlozzo said. "I'm not sure that he's going to be."

Hoey logged 51 1/3 innings in three levels of the farm system this year before the Orioles purchased his contract from Double-A Bowie on Aug. 23. He has thrown 9 2/3 innings with the Orioles, going 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA in 12 appearances.

Because he underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in July 2004, Hoey totaled only 21 2/3 innings the previous two years.

"It's just tired. It's been a long season for me," he said. "Right now it's day-by-day. I've been down for two days now and it's gotten a lot better.

"The last month and a half I haven't been able to locate outside. I thought it was just my mechanics were changing. I didn't realize my shoulder was weakened and I wasn't able to extend my arm."

Hoey eventually will begin strengthening exercises for his shoulder.

In addition to Hoey, Chris Ray wasn't available to close yesterday because of a tender hamstring, caused by fielding a bunt in Friday night's game. And third baseman Melvin Mora wasn't in the lineup after complaining of a headache and general soreness in his body.

New strength coach needed

The Orioles are in the market for a new strength and conditioning coach.

Tim Bishop is leaving the organization after 16 years, the past 14 with the major league club, to open a sports performance facility, PerformFit, in Lutherville.

"I thought about it all last winter, all spring, all through the summer," Bishop said. "It was very, very difficult. Still is."

Bishop also wants to spend more time with his wife, Amy, and young sons Justin and Casey.

"And it's an opportunity to do something outside the game of baseball and help athletes of all sports," he said.

The facility, which is expected to open in mid-November, mostly will cater to high school and college athletes. But he's also hoping to attract some pros. Toronto Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett, who has moved into the area, is a potential client.

"We're going to miss him," Perlozzo said of Bishop. "But the good that you take out of it is, he's going to go ahead and move on. As long as he's happy, we're happy for him."

The right direction

Since allowing a two-run homer in his major league debut earlier this month, left-hander Brian Burres has retired 13 of 15 batters he's faced over seven appearances.

Burres gave the Orioles 1 1/3 scoreless innings in Friday night's 7-3 victory.

"I definitely feel a little more at ease when I get out there," he said. "It kind of slowed down a little bit for me and I can think a little bit more when I'm out there."

A starter in the minors, Burres will try to earn a bullpen job next spring.

Elia faces decision

Though Perlozzo said that he hasn't made any final decisions about his staff next year, his bench coach, Lee Elia, is mulling over a decision of his own.

Elia said that he will decide after the season if he will return, assuming his contract is renewed.

"Whatever decision develops in October has nothing to do with the organization or anything of that nature," said Elia, 69, a first-year Orioles coach who is about to complete his 45th season in professional baseball. "My decision is of a personal nature. I hope it is not as difficult as I am making it, because my heart is starting to feel that it will be."

Elia, whose family lives in Florida, said that he will talk over the decision with his wife before informing Perlozzo.

"I don't even think it pertains to baseball whatever this decision might be," Elia said. "I might retire or maybe do things in another area. I think Sammy knows me well enough to give me the courtesy of making a decision after the season."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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