Rookie Adam Loewen will make his second start of the season Thursday, keeping a struggling Bruce Chen in the Orioles' bullpen for now.
Manager Sam Perlozzo said Loewen, one of the club's most prized prospects, earned the additional start with his solid outing Saturday against the New York Yankees. He was impressed with the way Loewen pitched out of a jam in the fifth inning after a visit to the mound. "If you never put somebody in that situation or let them get out of it, you'll never know," he said.
Loewen may have to pitch well Thursday to earn another start, though Perlozzo said he has no definite plan for the rookie.
He said he spoke with Chen yesterday about staying in the bullpen.
"Bruce totally understands the situation," Perlozzo said. "It's not a matter of giving up on anybody. It's a point now where you've got to pitch a little better."
Chen is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA and has allowed a whopping 17 homers in 49 innings.
When Perlozzo discussed the state of his team on Opening Day, he wondered if his lineup had enough speed to generate runs with daring on the base paths.
But two months in, the Orioles are the most efficient base-stealing team in the American League, with 47 in 53 attempts. Most of the credit goes to center fielder Corey Patterson and second baseman Brian Roberts.
Patterson leads the majors with 26 steals in 27 attempts and yesterday became the first player since Rickey Henderson in 1986 to steal in nine straight games. Roberts has stolen 13 without being caught.
"Corey's been awesome," Roberts said. "I have fun watching him, I know that."
Roberts recently gave Patterson advice on how to steal third base. "He just said he didn't have the confidence to do it and had never really had anything to key on," Roberts said. "I just tried to give him some simple things to key on that I've been taught."
Patterson said the tips he gleaned from Roberts two weeks ago have helped. He stole third in the seventh inning of Sunday's game against the Yankees.
His aggressive base-running drew a rebuke from Yankees coach Larry Bowa because he stole with the Orioles leading 10-4.
"I thought it was a smart play on my behalf," Patterson said. "It's the Yankees. They've got a good team, they pretty much had our number this year. I think our bullpen needed a little rest. We needed as many runs as possible."
Around the horn
The club designated third catcher Raul Chavez for assignment to clear a roster spot for last night's starter, Daniel Cabrera. Chavez is out of options so he will have to clear waivers. ... Golfer Michelle Wie will throw out the first pitch tonight.