Loewen's bullpen session 'good news for everybody'

The Baltimore Sun

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Pitcher Adam Loewen emerged from his bullpen session yesterday feeling better about his left shoulder, and about the decision made by the Orioles to skip his turn in the rotation.

Loewen remains scheduled to start Wednesday after throwing 45 pitches, mixing in everything and impressing bullpen coach Alan Dunn, who passed along a glowing report to manager Dave Trembley.

"It was great," Trembley said. "Alan Dunn said that's the best he's seen him throw all spring. I talked to Loewen afterward. He feels tremendous. He'll start on Wednesday. That's real good news for everybody."

Said Loewen: "I did my normal bullpen today, maybe a little extra because I missed a start, and everything went well."

Downplaying the severity of his condition last week, Loewen wanted to take his original turn despite soreness in the shoulder that made it difficult to get loose.

"There was no doubt in my mind that he was fine," Trembley said. "I know he was mad at me for two days, but he told me today we did the right thing. I said, 'Absolutely.' What's the rush? The guy is important to us."

Fahey still in dark

Brandon Fahey arrived at camp this spring believing for the first time that he could win a job rather than be optioned to Triple-A during the final cuts.

Four weeks later, he's still not sure whether his instincts were correct.

Starting at shortstop yesterday, Fahey went 1-for-4 with a run-scoring single in the third inning to leave his average at .300. He has closed the gap between himself and Luis Hernandez, the front-runner when spring training began, but the uncertainty about his status accompanies Fahey to the ballpark each morning.

"I still don't know what they think," he said. "I don't know if they want me as more of a utility guy or a shortstop or second base or whatever. Or if I'll get sent down. I don't know."

Asked whether Fahey could emerge as the starting shortstop, Trembley said, "We're going to find out the next two weeks."

Fahey has appeared in 131 games for the Orioles over the past two seasons. His ability to play the middle-infield positions gives him a huge advantage over the other competitors for a bench role, but he also could pry the shortstop job away from Hernandez -- if the Orioles don't make a trade -- because of his steadier defense. And it's evident his glove is going to keep him in the majors, not the .223 average he has posted in 305 at-bats or his .236 average at Triple-A Norfolk last season.

"That's what I think you want out of a middle infielder, but nowadays, they're hitting 30 home runs a year," he said, grinning. "The game has changed a little bit."

Hoey fighting injury

Reliever Jim Hoey remains shut down because of right biceps tendinitis that has caused his shoulder area to become inflamed, a problem he has occasionally dealt with the past two years.

"It's basically something we can manage," he said. "We just have to find the right combination."

Hoey gets daily treatment on the shoulder as the training staff attempts to reduce the inflammation.

"When we get that down, we're good to go," he said.

A magnetic resonance imaging taken in Baltimore last week didn't reveal any tears in the shoulder.

"That's the great news," he said. "Now it's just finding out that right combination. If you don't know what's going on, you can't take care of it. I was doing everything I needed to do, but maybe I was doing it in excess."

Liz sent to Norfolk

The Orioles made another cut yesterday, optioning Radhames Liz to Triple-A. They also returned Blake Davis, Jon Tucker and Sebastien Boucher to the minor league camp. Liz didn't allow a run in five innings. He will be a starter at Norfolk. "I saw improvement," Trembley said. "Better mechanics, more mature, a very good arm, but he needs to go pitch."


Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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