The stress fracture in his left elbow not healing as quickly as he had hoped, Adam Loewen will see renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews today in Alabama, and the Orioles pitcher said he is almost resigned to the fact that he'll need season-ending surgery.
"When we got the CT scan back, it didn't show any huge improvements like it should have after the four or five weeks that I took off," said Loewen, who hasn't pitched since May 1. "It didn't do as much healing as I would have liked. Now, I am going to go see Dr. Andrews and he'll make his assessment and I'll decide from there."
Loewen said he didn't want to make any proclamations before being examined by Andrews, but he acknowledged that he would be surprised if he isn't advised to have the surgery.
When the Orioles put the 23-year-old left-hander on the disabled list, they didn't think that surgery was necessary. They were optimistic that rest and then a rehabilitation program would help the elbow heal and allow Loewen to rejoin the rotation by August at the earliest.
But his elbow hasn't healed much since Loewen was shut down, though the pitcher said that he had no regrets about trying to rehab it first. If he had the surgery when the injury was first diagnosed, he might have pitched again this season, but that won't be an option anymore, assuming he has the surgery soon.
"I think about that, but I would have never made that decision to have surgery," Loewen said. "I'd rather do it the more natural way. That was just kind of the chance I took."
Loewen has done research on the procedure and said that while it would obviously end his season, it wouldn't hamper his preparation for 2008.
"It's a pretty simple procedure," Loewen said. "They just put a screw in there and one screw will help push the bone together and force it to heal. That's pretty much it. It's actually better this way. If that is what [Andrews] recommends, that's what I'm going to do. He could say something totally different. But I don't expect him to."
Roberts still slowed
Brian Roberts stole two bases Saturday, his first steals in 11 games. But he said his aggressiveness on the bases that night shouldn't be taken as a sign that his right hamstring is feeling better.
In fact, Roberts said that it hasn't improved much at all, which led him to spend half of Monday's day off in a doctor's office to get a stronger anti-inflammatory to help rid him of some of the discomfort.
Asked why he had two steal attempts Saturday after he vowed to shut it down on the base paths until his leg felt better, he said, "Sometimes, I just say, '[Forget it],'" Roberts said. "It got to the point where I got sick of waiting around."
O's move quickly
The Orioles expect to begin contract talks with their top pick in last week's draft, Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters, in the next week or so. Their focus before those negotiations begin has been on signing many of their other draft picks and getting them to the club's minor league facility in Sarasota, Fla.
The Orioles have already signed 29 of their 48 picks in last week's draft, including their sixth-rounder, Joseph Mahoney, a first baseman from the University of Richmond; their seventh-rounder, Matthew Angle, an outfielder out of Ohio State; and their ninth-rounder, James Crowley, a shortstop from Galveston College. The Orioles have also signed Eric Perlozzo, the manager's son, whom they took in the 35th round of the draft.
The club has also made significant progress toward signing Timothy Bascom (fourth round), Jacob Arrieta (fifth), Shane Matthews (eighth) and Eryk McConnell (10th).
Around the horn
Catcher Ramon Hernandez, on the disabled list with a bruised groin, said he feels better and is hopeful of returning as soon as the 15 days have elapsed. ... Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo continued to tinker with his starting lineup, playing Chris Gomez at first base and Jay Gibbons in left field, while Corey Patterson and Kevin Millar sat out. Perlozzo drew up tentative lineups for the three-game series with the hope of getting Millar, Patterson, Gibbons and Jay Payton starts in two games each.