Cause of Loewen's discomfort unclear

The Baltimore Sun

A bone scan on Orioles pitcher Adam Loewen's left elbow has come back clear. Too bad the reason for his discomfort can't be described as the same.

Loewen, who was removed from last Thursday's start in the third inning and placed on the 15-day disabled list, is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews performed the surgery in June that included the insertion of a screw in Loewen's elbow.

The only positive development this week is that the bone scan, a CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging haven't revealed a fracture.

"I was relieved because I was thinking the worst and I didn't want it to be fractured again. That means it would happen pretty much every year," Loewen said. "I'm really relieved. I just want to find out what's causing the pain. If we can't find out what's causing the pain or what it is, there's really no definite timetable to come back."

No matter what Andrews determines, Loewen won't be ready to return once his 15 days are over.

"There's not really much more I can find out," Loewen said. "He's probably going to do some tests to see what hurts and what doesn't. I think it might have to do with just the screw being in here and my body is not used to it. Bones need to bend a little bit because they're growing, and titanium doesn't bend at all. It could be a bone bruise or something like that."

Markakis gets a rest

For the first time this season, Nick Markakis' name didn't appear in the starting lineup.

Manager Dave Trembley decided to rest Markakis and move Luke Scott into the third slot in the batting order. Jay Payton started in right field.

"I feel like I can play every day. I want to play every day. Dave felt like I needed a day off, so you can't argue with it," Markakis said.

Huff's power surge

A year ago, Aubrey Huff produced four home runs through May 31, a total dismissed as a product of his usual slow start. He went into last night's game having hit five in the season's first month.

Huff won't subject himself to another hernia surgery this winter, but the change in his routine might be proving beneficial. It's the easiest explanation.

"That's the only thing I can think of," he said. "I was kind of forced to do really nothing in the offseason with this injury. It gave me a chance to let the body heal and not swing so much. I came to spring training, just picked up a bat and started playing. Hopefully, that's the key to starting pretty good."

Entering this season, Huff was a career .236 hitter with 13 homers in March and April.

"In eight years in baseball, it's the best start I've had," he said. "I don't see why I shouldn't do the same thing. Nothing else has worked. Maybe I'll do some cardio to stay in shape, but as far as picking up a bat, probably not."

Bascom update

Pitcher Tim Bascom, a fourth-round pick in last year's draft, threw another inning at extended spring training this week and is expected to join Single-A Frederick within the next two weeks.

Bascom is getting a late start because of back spasms related to an oblique injury. Dave Stockstill, the club's director of minor league operations, said the goal is to get Bascom up to 75 pitches before sending him to Frederick.

"Even waiting two more weeks, it's still early in the season," Stockstill said. "If we get him out there in the middle of May, he'll still get a lot of innings for basically his first year, and there's also the fall league. We'll get him everything he needs."

Around the horn

Reliever Rocky Cherry, on the DL with a strained right shoulder, is scheduled to pitch an inning in extended spring training today. ... The rotation for the Los Angeles Angels series that begins tomorrow shapes up as Jeremy Guthrie, Daniel Cabrera and Steve Trachsel.

Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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