Loewen finds comfort zone early this year

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Shuey's Achilles' isn't torn

Bako makes his spring debut

Notebook

March 11, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- Given the choice yesterday, Adam Loewen would have kept his first inning and discarded the second. He'd base the decision on how he threw the ball, not the results.

The St. Louis Cardinals scored once off Loewen, the Orioles' left-hander, in the first. They went down quietly in the second, with Loewen striking out Gary Bennett and Jolbert Cabrera.

Loewen threw 29 pitches in the first, allowing a single to Tagg Bozied and a run-scoring double to Preston Wilson.

Bozied broke too soon for second on an attempted steal, but he beat first baseman Chris Gomez's wide throw to second. Scott Spiezio walked before Wilson's opposite-field double.

"Spiezio gave me a tough at-bat, and not getting that pickoff didn't help, either," Loewen said. "That kind of stuff happens. I've got to pitch out of those jams."

Loewen said he's never felt this comfortable with his pitches so early in spring training.

"I think things will get better as it goes on," he said, "and hopefully next time I can go three or four innings and build on it."

Loewen has nine strikeouts in four innings. Can he keep up the pace?

"Probably not," he said. "Maybe it's the beginning of spring training and they're trying to get their timing down. I expect a little more contact as spring training goes on."

Shuey's MRI shows no tear

Paul Shuey's magnetic resonance imaging test didn't reveal any tears in his right Achilles' tendon, good news for the reliever and the team.

Shuey strained the tendon while covering home plate during Friday's game and is expected to miss at least two weeks. But the injury could have been far worse.

Shuey hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2003. He retired two years later and underwent hip-resurfacing surgery. When Shuey pulled up while running toward the plate, some Orioles feared he had reinjured the hip.

Bako gets into the game

Unable to play in the first nine games because of a strained right oblique muscle, backup catcher Paul Bako made his spring debut yesterday and went 0-for-1 in three innings.

Perlozzo will start Bako tomorrow and play him for five innings.

"We'll make sure that he's healthy. We don't want any setbacks," manager Sam Perlozzo said.

Bako had a similar injury last season while playing for the Kansas City Royals.

"This one's more of a little strain than a big deal," he said. "It would be nice to be out there the whole spring with everybody, but if there's a good time for something like that to happen, it would definitely be the beginning of spring training instead of the middle or end."

If it's not one thing ...

Kevin Millar remains out of the lineup and won't travel to Fort Myers today to play his former team, the Boston Red Sox, but it's not because of his bruised left foot. Millar has some soreness in his right forearm/elbow area.

"We want to get everything calmed down, so we'll give him a couple days and then shoot him back in there," Perlozzo said.

Millar said his foot is much better after fouling a ball off his left instep Wednesday.

It's become a spring tradition of sorts. The exhibition games start, Millar takes a hard swing and slams the ball off his lower leg or foot.

And then the pain comes - searing and persistent.

"It's usually about a day and a half," he said. "A lot of days I put a shinguard on down there."

Millar said he might start wearing the protective guard now, rather than waiting until another foul ball finds him.

"I'm going to start doing it because this is ridiculous," he said.

Around the horn

Bench coach Tom Trebelhorn was expected to rejoin the Orioles last night and make today's trip to Fort Myers. It's unknown how long he'll stay with the team. ... Perlozzo indicated that the next round of cuts might not come until after Saturday's split-squad games.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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