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Same plot, new episode for Penn

The Baltimore Sun

When Hayden Penn received word in spring training that he was being reassigned to the Orioles' minor league camp, the pitching prospect told a team official that he thought he threw OK.

For the Orioles, that wasn't enough. And they made sure Penn understood that it shouldn't be enough for him, either.

They needed more than just mediocre-to-good results from Penn to justify keeping him on their roster. And they also needed him to stay healthy, which continues to be an issue.

Penn made one start at Triple-A Norfolk, in the Tides' April 5 opener, before twice being scratched from starts and eventually sent to Sarasota, Fla., for extended spring training. He's bothered by soreness in his right forearm area, and recently underwent an examination in Baltimore by team orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cosgarea.

A team official said the Orioles were aware of a pre-existing bone spur in Penn's elbow, but they don't believe it's related to the forearm issue. Rather than schedule surgery, they've chosen to have him rehabilitate at the minor league complex.

"It's something he's had in there for a while, going back three or four years. We knew it's been there and it hasn't been a problem so far," said Mike Flanagan, executive vice president of baseball operations.

"He'll just keep on going."

Setbacks are nothing new to Penn, though they're getting a little old for the Orioles.

They've seen him undergo an appendectomy the day he was supposed to make his first start (last season in Seattle), sprain his ankle in spring training while carrying a box down the steps at the team hotel and arrive late for a start in Jupiter, Fla., after forgetting to bring his bag - a mental lapse that nearly got him sent out early. And now Penn is sidelined with the bone spur, which prevented him from being considered for a call-up after Jaret Wright went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.

"His timing has not been great," Flanagan said.

Not that the Orioles automatically will consider Penn anymore. His prospect status and promise aren't enough. They want to see results, or they'll sift through their options and choose someone else.

"I'm looking to get the best available," manager Sam Perlozzo said. "If the guy's pitching the best, we want him to come up. I think we're getting to a point where the guy that deserves to come up, should come up.

"With Hayden, it's happened a couple of times when he's pitching well enough to come up and he had some things go wrong. It's frustrating, I'm sure for him, and a little for us. There are some opportunities where a guy's going good that he might just get over the hump and come back and be the pitcher he's going to be."

Perhaps one day, that pitcher will be Hayden Penn.

Triple-A Norfolk

The Tides had a difficult week, going 2-4 and being swept by Indianapolis at home. They were outscored 35-29 during the week. ... Rob Bell remains at extended spring training with an infected finger on his pitching hand. ... Sean Tracey, acquired from the Chicago White Sox in March, entered Friday with a 7.94 ERA in five appearances. ... The Orioles bypassed catcher-infielder J.R. House when they sent down pitcher Kurt Birkins, but he batted .409 with one RBI during the week. He entered Friday ranked sixth in the International League with a .391 average, and fourth in RBIs with 10. ... Third baseman Mike Cervenak homered twice Saturday. ... Infielder Terry Tiffee drove in four runs in four games. ... Outfielder Ruddy Yan is struggling at the plate, but he entered Friday tied for third in the International League in stolen bases with five. ... Jim Johnson went 0-1 in two starts, allowing five earned runs and 12 hits, and striking out nine in 11 innings.

Double-A Bowie

Infielder Bryan Bass, a supplemental pick in the 2001 draft, went 4-for-10 with an RBI and two runs scored in three games. ... Shortstop Luis Hernandez went 8-for-23 over six games, with five RBIs and two runs scored. ... Outfielder Val Majewski was 7-for-20 in six games. ... Pitcher Radhames Liz gained his first win April 13, striking out eight in five innings. ... Beau Hale, the 14th overall pick in the 2000 draft, struck out five in 5 1/3 innings to earn the win over Altoona in the first game of a doubleheader. ... Left-hander David Haehnel struck out six in 4 1/3 scoreless innings over three appearances.

Single-A Frederick

Bob McCrory earned two saves by throwing two scoreless innings. ... Pasadena native Chorye Spoone, who attended Catonsville Community College, earned the win Tuesday after allowing two earned runs and striking out six in 6 2/3 innings. ... David Hernandez followed Spoone's performance by allowing one hit and striking out nine in six innings.

Single-A Delmarva

The Shorebirds were batting .194 with runners in scoring position entering Friday. ... Outfielder Brandon Tripp had two hits Wednesday, four Thursday, including a home run, and a double and two-run shot Saturday. He scored twice in Thursday's extra-inning win. ... Tripp led the team with 15 RBIs entering Friday, one more than Chris Vinyard. ... Dave Cash went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored Saturday. ... Brad Bergesen has allowed one run in 19 innings this season. ... Jeff Moore didn't allow an earned run in 6 2/3 innings Thursday, but settled for no decision.


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