Uehara Might Be Out Until September

July 02, 2009|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

Orioles pitcher Koji Uehara could be sidelined until September after an arthrogram revealed that his lingering elbow soreness is the result of a partially torn flexor tendon.

Manager Dave Trembley announced Wednesday morning that Uehara will be shut down for up to five weeks, then embark on a throwing program that could extend his absence to eight weeks or more. It's possible Uehara won't return this season.

"Koji is going to be out for a while," Trembley said.

"He has a partial tear in his elbow and will rest for three to five weeks. Surgery is not required. ... It could be seven or eight weeks before he's in a game again. He's going to get a second opinion, which everyone does now, but Dr. [John] Wilckens and Dr. [Andrew] Cosgarea are confident that's what it is."

Uehara was thought to be suffering from tendinitis, but there was enough lingering soreness to convince the medical staff that it should look deeper. An arthrogram is an X-ray that is taken after dye is injected into the area to highlight any structural damage.

The elbow injury is the latest in a series of physical issues that have dogged Uehara since he reported to spring training camp in February. He missed time in spring training with a hamstring injury, which resurfaced early in the season. He also had problems with dehydration that limited his effectiveness on the mound.

"It's an unfortunate thing for him and for us," Trembley said. "I talked to him, and he was very dejected."

Uehara said Monday that he was very frustrated with the way his first season in the American major leagues has run aground but did not expand on that when he spoke to reporters through interpreter Jiwon Bang on Wednesday.

"To tell the truth, I don't want to think about it," Uehara said. "I wasn't expecting it, not at all."

Triple-A call-up David Hernandez, who moved into the rotation for the second time when Uehara came up sore, will take Uehara's slot indefinitely.

"We all like him," Trembley said of Hernandez.

"He's got good stuff. He's got an upside. He'll get an opportunity to pitch, unfortunately with Koji getting hurt, but that is part of the game."

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