For Bowie, The Waiting Is Hardest Part

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 21, 2007

The final 15 minutes before he got loose were the most difficult part of Micah Bowie's day yesterday. He hadn't started a major league game since Sept. 29, 1999, and he was to face the Baltimore Orioles.

"It's about that time where you're kind of waiting and waiting," Bowie said.

Bowie had to wait more than seven years between starts, but after yesterday's 3 1/3 -inning, two-run outing, he will only have to wait five more days. With starters John Patterson, Shawn Hill, Jerome Williams and Jason Bergmann all on the disabled list, Manager Manny Acta said his makeshift rotation will remain the same on an upcoming seven-game road trip.

Bowie worked through three scoreless innings, but tired in the fourth. He hadn't thrown more than 47 pitches this year, and Acta said that when he reached about his 55th pitch in the fourth, his velocity dropped by 3 to 4 mph.

"I think I probably hit a little bit of a wall," said Bowie, who allowed two hits and a walk in the inning before giving way to Billy Traber after his 69th pitch. "I started missing with some pitches that I was hitting with earlier."

But the Nationals beat the Orioles, 4-3, in large part because Traber and three other relievers threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing only one run.

"It's a situation where Manny says 'patchwork,' " said veteran lefty Ray King, who worked a scoreless seventh. "But as a player and being part of it, as long as the patch is keeping the ship afloat, that's all right."

Church Hit by Pitch

Left fielder Ryan Church was hit in the left forearm by Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard in the fourth inning yesterday, and though he initially remained in the game, he was removed in the top of the sixth so he could get an X-ray. The test came back negative, and Church is listed as day-to-day with swelling in the area. The X-ray results, though, were more encouraging than he expected. "I thought I broke it," he said. "Just how it sounded, I heard a crack." . . . Closer Chad Cordero hadn't faced a save opportunity in exactly two weeks, but when the Nationals rallied for three runs in the eighth, he earned the save in the ninth. It was his first since he left the team May 8 to deal with the then-failing health of his late grandmother.

"It makes me feel a lot better, because I've been throwing the ball a lot better," Cordero said. "I'm not thinking about my grandma at all. I'm just concentrating on baseball."

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