An examination yesterday by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on the left elbow of Adam Loewen revealed what the Orioles pitcher had expected. He needs season-ending surgery to fix the stress fracture in his throwing arm.
As part of the procedure, which will be performed today by Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., Loewen will have a screw inserted into his elbow that will help the fracture heal quicker. Team officials said the surgery would keep Loewen from throwing for about 10 weeks, but they don't expect it to hamper his preparation for the 2008 season.
"It's something that we thought was a possibility," Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan said. "When [team orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cosgarea] and Dr. Andrews consulted, they thought surgery was the best way to ensure the healing."
Flanagan described the surgery as "pretty cut and dried."
"We expect him to be ready from the get-go [of spring training]," Flanagan said. "We don't see this being a problem at all."
Loewen, 23, who was 2-0 with a 3.56 ERA in six starts before he was shut down with the injury, had initially planned to treat the injury with a program of rest and rehabilitation. The hope was that it would get him back into the club's rotation by late August. But a recent CT scan revealed that the elbow was not healing as quickly as the club wanted, prompting Loewen to schedule yesterday's appointment with Andrews.
Loewen did not return calls last night seeking comment, but he said Tuesday that he was resigned to the fact that his season was likely over.
"In his mind, he really wanted to get back," Flanagan said. "But we weren't focused on this year as much as he was. He still has a lot of career ahead of us. We didn't want to put that in jeopardy. There's really no point in doing that."
Orioles vice president Jim Duquette said the eight-to-10-week timetable for his post-surgery recovery was nearly the same as it would have been if Loewen chose to go the rest-and-rehabilitation route.
"We realized that [his return this season] was becoming less and less likely and didn't make a whole lot of sense," Duquette said. "You just want to get it done sooner rather than later so it doesn't affect next year. We're pretty much looking at the original timetable. It shouldn't affect his preparation for next year much if at all. "
Duquette noted that Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and Milwaukee Brewers setup man Derrick Turnbow have undergone the surgery and made strong returns.
"It's really not that complicated of a procedure," he said.
Walker applauds former mate
When Orioles reliever Jamie Walker learned that Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander had thrown a no-hitter Tuesday night against the Brewers, it hardly came as a surprise. A teammate of Verlander's last season, Walker said he felt that the right-hander had the potential to throw a no-hitter nearly every time out.
"He's got great [stuff], man," Walker said. "He doesn't know how good he is. It was probably a shock for him, but he's capable of doing that anytime. I am happy for him and his teammates. I'm sure it was a lot of fun."
Around the horn
The Orioles' home game Aug. 11 against the Boston Red Sox was moved from 7:05 p.m. to 3:55 p.m., with Fox broadcasting the game on a regional basis. ... Despite pitching 1 1/3 innings in Tuesday's series opener, Brian Burres is in line to start Saturday. ... In celebration of the 232nd birthday of the U.S. Army, the Orioles are inviting active duty military and their guests to purchase upper reserve tickets for just $6 for tonight's game. The Orioles also will have an American flag giveaway and several on-field events, including the Army's parachute team, the Golden Knights, jumping into the ballpark from about 1,500 feet. ... Miguel Tejada has dropped to third among shortstops in the latest All-Star balloting, but he remains the only Oriole anywhere near the top vote-getters at their position. ... . Right fielder Nick Markakis will be at ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor from noon to 1 p.m. today to answer questions and sign autographs.