Scan reveals 'widening' of Loewen elbow injury

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

July 09, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,Sun reporter

TORONTO - The Orioles received daunting news regarding left-hander Adam Loewen yesterday, but the club has not officially ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said a CT scan taken Monday showed further injury to a previous stress fracture in Loewen's throwing elbow, meaning Loewen will be sidelined indefinitely until he decides on a course of action.

Loewen has consulted with club orthopedist John Wilckens and is expected to call Dr. James Andrews, the renowned Alabama surgeon who inserted a screw in Loewen's elbow in June 2007. Like last year, if Loewen (0-2, 8.02 ERA) chooses surgery, he will miss the rest of the season.

"He's not going to pitch for a while," Trembley said. "My concern is right now is to see what Dr. Andrews says, consult with Dr. Wilckens and then go from there."

The CT scan, Trembley said, showed "a widening" of the original injury.

"The [previous] stress fracture was such that it was a split, and they put a screw in it to hold it together, right?" Trembley said. "Well, I think the CT scan ... showed that space there again. It's a reinjury of the original stress fracture."

Loewen, 24, made four starts in April, then went on the disabled list with elbow discomfort. He missed two months, returning in July for three relief appearances, the last of which was Sunday, when he left the game in pain.

"He said he never felt anything in his arm, when he rehabbed, when he pitched," Trembley said. "The pitch before I took him out of the game was when he said was the first time he felt something. It's just a real, real unfortunate situation."

Trembley said he spoke to Loewen on Tuesday, and the pitcher was in better spirits than he was Sunday. There is no timetable for when Loewen will decide whether he will have surgery.

Castillo's journey

Taking Loewen's spot on the roster is Alberto Castillo, a 33-year-old left-hander whose story reads like a far-fetched novel.

A native of Cuba, he defected to Canada in 1993 while playing in the World Junior Championships in Windsor, Ontario. An American woman he had previously met helped him escape from the team hotel at 3 a.m. He eventually played junior college baseball in Florida and was drafted in 1994 by the San Francisco Giants in third round.

But after several unimpressive seasons in the minors, some of which he played first base exclusively, Castillo was released and turned to independent league ball. He had to come back from ligament-reconstruction surgery, and he played several years in the Atlantic League, including two seasons for the Pennsylvania Road Warriors, a club without a home stadium. Now he is back in Canada, as a major leaguer.

"It has been a long time since I came to this country," he said. "I played in the independent leagues, worked my way up. And I finally reached my dream."

Castillo, who the Orioles signed out of the Mexican Winter League, was 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk. When manager Gary Allenson told him he was going to the big leagues, Castillo said he was "suspicious."

"I was very excited; it was an amazing feeling," said Castillo, who will be used mainly as a lefty specialist.

Around the horn

With the addition of Castillo, the Orioles have two other players (Kevin Millar and George Sherrill) on their 25-man roster who have spent time in an independent league. ... To make room for Castillo on the 40-man roster, pitcher Troy Patton (shoulder surgery) was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. ... Norfolk catcher Omir Santos was named to the International League All-Star team.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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