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Orioles' Thome might need another epidural, Showalter says

By Dan Connolly

The Baltimore Sun

5:56 PM EDT, August 25, 2012

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Orioles manager Buck Showalter's pregame press briefing unearthed one decent sized item and a couple other interesting things.

Designated hitter Jim Thome, who has been rehabbing in Sarasota with a herniated disk in his neck, has been experiencing some weakness in his back and may need another epidural shot.

He was hoping to be ready in early September. That would be in serious jeopardy if he has to get another shot.

"Not a setback, he ... just feels some weakness in his lat (large back muscle) a little bit, which tells you he's probably not inflammation-free," Showalter said of Thome. "He felt real good at home, but the only way to find out where he was is start doing the action he is being asked to do. So there's some talk about him seeing a doctor again, whether it's a guy down in Sarasota or his original guy (in California). And see if there is the potential for another injection."

Showalter said it is too early to speculate on when he can return. That will be better determined when a decision is made on whether he gets another epidural shot.

Infielder Wilson Betemit (wrist) is progressing pain-free and is expected to travel back to Maryland this weekend. Betemit, Showalter said, is ready to take batting practice outdoors by Monday and with a potential hurricane in Florida, the weather may not be conducive.

So he'll come back to Maryland and take BP at Camden Yards or in Bowie Monday or Tuesday and could begin a rehab assignment by Wednesday.

Showalter said he likes what he has read about right-hander Jake Arrieta, who has been pitching at Triple-A Norfolk. Arrieta is expected to be a September call-up, and Showalter said he could be considered for a bullpen spot – if there's not a slot opened in the rotation.

"Could. That's a discussion I'm sure, if that's a possibility, ... I and Dan (Duquette) and Rick Peterson will have," Showalter said about Arrieta in the bullpen. "If they think he can do it."

Troy Patton (ankle) may throw a ball for the first time Tuesday or Wednesday since going on the DL.