MINNEAPOLIS -- Injured Orioles left-hander Adam Loewen likely won't be back with the club until the end of the month and might initially return as a reliever.
Loewen, who has been on the disabled list since April 25 with left elbow soreness, threw 27 pitches in one inning yesterday during an extended spring training game at the club's complex in Sarasota, Fla.
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Loewen, 24, will stay there Saturday and pitch several innings in a simulated game before going on a rehabilitation assignment.
"I would think he is going to have to pitch for a couple weeks, at least a couple weeks [in the minors]," Trembley said. "He'll probably start, so he can warm up and go out there and build himself up. I wouldn't expect him until the end of June. I think that is realistic."
Although the club is not addressing it specifically, Loewen might rejoin the Orioles as a reliever. He has come out of the bullpen just six times in his six-season pro career and only three times in 32 big-league games.
"I think we are developing the plan for the role that Loewen will be in when he comes back, but we are going to wait and see what he does in the minor leagues on his rehab stint first," Trembley said. "[Team president] Andy MacPhail and I and [pitching coach] Rick Kranitz and Adam Loewen have discussed all the options."
Pitching out of the bullpen would help ease Loewen (0-1, 7.85 ERA in four 2008 starts) back into the majors while putting less wear on a tender left elbow that has hampered the former first-round pick for more than a year.
Bynum struggling, upbeat
When Freddie Bynum was recalled May 8, he took over as starting shortstop and had five hits in his first 12 at-bats. He has had nine hits in 54 at-bats (.167 average) since and was mired in a 3-for-28 slump (.107) heading into last night's game.
Utility infielder Alex Cintron replaced Bynum in the starting lineup last night, but Trembley said it was done to keep Cintron sharp. Bynum, who has made just one error in 19 games, remains the club's starter, Trembley said. And he is remaining upbeat.
"As long as I keep doing what I am doing, go out there with a happy attitude, play defense and putting together good at-bats, then everything will come together in the end," Bynum said. "I am not going to put any added pressure on myself."