PITTSBURGH — Orioles pitching prospect Dan Klein has been diagnosed with a small SLAP tear in the labrum of his right shoulder, an injury that won't require surgery but could end his season.
"Surgery is not needed at this time," Orioles director of player development John Stockstill said. "They believe they can rehab it."
Stockstill said there is no timeframe for Klein's return. The 22-year-old will consult with team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens on Friday, then head to Sarasota, Fla., next week to begin rehabilitation.
The diagnosis was made after Klein consulted with renowned orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum this week.
It's not uncommon for a pitcher to rehab this type of injury. Orioles reliever Jason Berken did it last year and has not missed any time this season. Former Orioles reliever Matt Albers also successfully rehabbed the injury.
Klein, perhaps the Orioles' top pitching prospect, was a combined 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA between Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, allowing 23 hits and six walks while striking out 37 batters in 321/3 innings.
Klein, a third-round pick in last year's first-year player draft, last pitched June 1, and was officially put on the minor league disabled list June 8 with shoulder tendinitis.
He has a history of shoulder problems that dates to his days at UCLA. The right-hander missed part of his freshman year and his entire sophomore season with a shoulder injury that required exploratory surgery in 2009. He was used at the Bruins' closer for the 2010 season.
The Orioles drafted him with the hopes of making him a starter but were using him in relief in his first full pro season because they wanted to limit his innings and appearances.