Loewen's rehab making progress

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Lefty, on DL because of sore elbow, throws off mound

Notebook

May 24, 2008|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Orioles left-hander Adam Loewen threw off a mound yesterday for the first time since going on the disabled list a month ago with elbow soreness, and he's scheduled to pitch an inning at extended spring training June 4.

Loewen and relievers Chris Ray and Danys Baez joined the team from the minor league camp in Sarasota. Fernando Cabrera will report today.

"It's been feeling great all along. It's like night and day to how it was before," said Loewen, who's 0-1 with a 7.85 ERA in four starts.

"I've been moving a lot slower than I did in spring training, and I think that's by design. But as slow as it is, my arm feels great, so I don't think we're going to mess with it. We're just making sure to get my shoulder strong and everything around my elbow, and leave nothing to chance."

Loewen, who was restricted to throwing only fastballs yesterday, will have a few more sessions before heading to Sarasota. He expects to rejoin the Orioles shortly after appearing in his first extended spring training game.

"He looks good. It looks like he didn't even get hurt," pitching coach Rick Kranitz said. "His arm strength looked good. For his first time on a mound, we're very encouraged. I think he's going to come pretty fast."

Manager Dave Trembley said Loewen's fastball command was "average" but will get better.

Ray, recovering from ligament reconstruction in his right elbow, anticipates going on a rehabilitation assignment in early August and being activated once rosters expand in September.

"It's free and easy right now. It feels really good. The ball's coming out of my hand real well," said Ray, who has thrown three side sessions since Monday and increased his pitch total to 30 yesterday.

Said Kranitz: "He looks wonderful. He looks like he never had a problem with his elbow. He looks that good. But we need to be smart about this and bring him along at the right pace. He hasn't started throwing breaking balls yet, or changeups, and that will come along later."

Baez had the same surgery as Ray, but he's a month behind in his recovery. He has been cleared only for long-tossing, and he returned to 120 feet yesterday after being reduced to 90 feet a few weeks ago because of discomfort in the elbow. He'll eventually have to reach 150 and 180 feet before stepping on a mound for the first time.

"The last thing you want is to get surgery again," he said. "My shoulder's strong. Everything's good."

Cabrera, on the DL after surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, pitched three innings Wednesday at extended spring training. He's ready to go on a rehabilitation assignment.

Test time for Trachsel

The Orioles are about to find out how effective Steve Trachsel can be on 14 days' rest.

At least they know he won't be tired.

Trachsel will make his first start tonight since going 5 1/3 innings in a game May 9 in Kansas City. His only work has come during side sessions.

"He's throwing the ball well," Kranitz said. "It's not easy doing what he's doing. Hopefully, he can get some outs early and start to get in a rhythm. We put him in a tough situation, but he's a pro and we couldn't do that with just anybody. So we feel confident he's going to give us six, seven innings."

Kranitz noted that Trachsel, who's 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA in seven starts this season, has perfect mechanics while pitching from the stretch, "but from the windup, he's not as fluid."

"His last three or four [sessions], his delivery looks exactly the same for both, which is going to help him be more consistent early in the zone," Kranitz said. "Hopefully, he'll carry that over, because he's been very good."

Around the horn

Third baseman Melvin Mora returned to the lineup after suffering a cut on his right ring finger during Wednesday's game at Yankee Stadium. Mora, who was spiked by Hideki Matsui at third base, said he could have played the next night. ... The Orioles activated Rocky Cherry from the DL and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. ... Rule 5 pick Randor Bierd (right shoulder) will begin a throwing program Monday.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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