Shoulder forces Albers to DL

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

F. Cabrera is back

Bullpen spent, O's make move without results of MRI

June 27, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN REPORTER

CHICAGO -- Orioles pitcher Matt Albers will have a magnetic resonance imaging exam taken today on his right shoulder, though the Orioles are concerned enough that they put him on the disabled list without knowing the test results.

Making an emergency start Wednesday, Albers felt discomfort while throwing a curveball to the first batter he faced, the Chicago Cubs' Eric Patterson. The right-hander was removed from the game later that inning with shoulder pain.

The Orioles put Albers on the DL yesterday and activated right-handed reliever Fernando Cabrera from his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Norfolk. Albers, who is 3-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 games, declined to comment until after his examination.

"I would say that he's going to miss some time," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "[Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells] told me he's not available, one. And two, after going through our bullpen [Wednesday] night, I need a pitcher for today."

Cabrera allowed one earned run and 11 hits in 13 innings with the Tides after having offseason surgery on his right elbow. The Orioles signed him in August and he appeared in nine games, posting a 12.60 ERA while battling elbow soreness.

"I'm not going to come up with an excuse," Cabrera said. "I was sore a little bit, hurt, and I decided to pitch that way. That was my decision."

Asked how he feels now, Cabrera said: "I threw a lot of innings in extended spring, so I think now I'm getting better and better every time. I don't feel any pain."

Making him feel worse

Brian Burres, who was expected to make Wednesday's start but was scratched because of a stomach illness, was still at Wrigley Field when Albers was removed with the shoulder injury. It didn't make his stomach feel any better.

"It [stunk]," said Burres, who pitched one inning out of the bullpen yesterday, allowing an earned run. "I hated it. It was my turn to pitch and I couldn't do it and then something bad happens. It just makes it worse."

Shortstop shuffle

With Alex Cintron continuing to struggle defensively, the Orioles' urgency to trade for a starting shortstop has increased the past couple of days.

"I think that's an area that [club president Andy MacPhail] and I have talked about and we're trying to address," Trembley said. "Hopefully, we'll do something about that."

The problem is that there is little available. Shortstops, such as the Pittsburgh Pirates' Jack Wilson, Colorado Rockies' Clint Barmes and Minnesota Twins' Brendan Harris, are occupying key roles for their teams.

One player who likely is available and could interest the Orioles is former All-Star Felipe Lopez of the Washington Nationals, the team's opponent the next three days. The Nationals have a surplus of middle infielders, and the Orioles actively scouted Lopez in the spring.

Lopez, 28, is a free agent at the end of the season and makes $4.9 million this year. He could be expendable with shortstop Cristian Guzman having a strong year and Ronnie Belliard able to play second base full time.

Wieters to Baysox?

The Orioles planned to proceed with caution after drafting Matt Wieters fifth overall in the 2007 draft, but the catcher has left them with little choice. With Wieters tearing up the Single-A Carolina League with a .345 average, 15 homers and 40 RBIs in 69 games, he's expected to be promoted from Frederick to Double-A Bowie as early as today.

Wieters, who turned 22 last week, was in Frederick's lineup last night, going 2-for-4 with a home run, but it's possible he'll be in the Baysox's lineup tonight at Prince George's Stadium.

Orioles minor league director David Stockstill did not return calls yesterday seeking comment.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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