Shoulder injury may end Albers' season


O's reliever weighing surgery for torn cartilage


June 28, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

Washington -- The Orioles got the worst possible news on the health of Matt Albers. A magnetic resonance imaging of the right-hander's pitching shoulder revealed yesterday that he has a torn labrum, an injury that could cause him to miss the rest of the season.

Albers, who was not available to comment yesterday, is considering whether to rehabilitate the injured cartilage, which would keep him sidelined for the next two months, or to have season-ending surgery. If Albers, 25, has the surgery, he won't be on the mound for eight or nine months, manager Dave Trembley said.

"He wants to discuss that with some people and consider what he's going to do," Trembley said. "Obviously, that's a real big blow for our club. He did such a great job for us."

Albers, who was one of five players acquired from the Houston Astros in the Miguel Tejada deal in December, is 3-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 games for the Orioles. He pitched primarily out of the bullpen, becoming one of Trembley's most reliable options. He did make three spot starts and left his last one, on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs, after getting just one out, complaining of shoulder pain.

The Orioles put Albers on the disabled list Wednesday and activated reliever Fernando Cabrera, knowing that the right-hander would be sidelined for a while regardless of what the test results showed. But they were hoping for far better news than they got.

"I think [a torn labrum is] something that just doesn't happen overnight," Trembley said. "The way it was explained to me, it's something that progressively continues to get worse."

Troy Patton, another pitcher the Orioles acquired from the Astros in the Tejada deal, had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder this spring.

Who's on short?

As expected, the Orioles recalled shortstop Brandon Fahey from Triple-A Norfolk before the game yesterday against the Washington Nationals and optioned infielder Oscar Salazar to the Tides. It's the second stint with the Orioles this season for Fahey, who batted .200 in 15 games in April before he was sent down. Fahey, who hit .279 in 43 games for Norfolk, started last night, but Trembley would not commit to how much he will play.

Trembley simply wanted more insurance at shortstop behind Alex Cintron and didn't believe that Salazar was capable of playing the position regularly.

The Orioles remain on the lookout for a shortstop, and the Nationals' Felipe Lopez is an option they have discussed since spring training. However, any trade involving Lopez, according to industry sources, would hinge on how much money the Nationals would be willing to send the Orioles to help offset what remains of the former All-Star's $4.9 million contract this season. Otherwise, the cost of Lopez would be little more than a marginal prospect.

Asked about the trade rumors yesterday, Lopez said: "It's not troubling. [It's] opportunity, new opportunities. I've been traded before. I've been through a lot." Of the Orioles, Lopez said: "They're a good young team. They have great pitching."

Lopez, 28, is hitting .247 with two homers and 20 RBIs for the Nationals. He was out of the lineup last night and griped before the game about a lack of communication from the Nationals.

Paying their respects

A large Orioles contingent visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for rehabilitating soldiers before arriving at Nationals Park last night. The trip has become a tradition for the Orioles when they come to Washington to play the Nationals.

"I like to go every year," Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis said. "I think it's very important. You have to the opportunity to go see people that fight for you and your country. I have a lot respect for that."

Said Trembley: "Everybody ought to go; they'd be real humbled, I can tell you that. You think you got it tough in your life, you haven't. Those people are pretty special."

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