By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 20, 2008
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 19 -- The fact that St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Skip Schumaker led off the first and second innings of the Baltimore Orioles' 12-3 loss Wednesday tells you all you need to know about Adam Loewen's return to the mound after skipping a start because of shoulder stiffness.
Loewen, who missed most of last season because of elbow surgery, allowed four runs on four hits, four walks and two hit batsmen before being yanked with the bases loaded and two out in the second.
The outing inflated Loewen's spring ERA -- from 9.53 to 12.27 -- but it didn't seem to harm his confidence or worry Manager Dave Trembley. Loewen, who had a screw inserted into his left elbow last June, said he felt no pain or stiffness.
"I felt fine," he said. "I don't think there's anything wrong with my mechanics. It's focus. It's rust. It's a lot of different things. I keep thinking, the more I go out there, the better I'll get . . . I just have to start doing it now."
The low point of the outing, Loewen said, was when he hit Albert Pujols, who hit a first-inning home run, and Troy Glaus in back-to-back at bats in the second. Trembley said Loewen simply lacked his control.
"It was two people that totally screwed up the second inning," he said. But "there's plenty of time. Two weeks is a lot. A lot can be done in two weeks."Johnson, Trying to Stick, Instead Struggles
Right-hander Jim Johnson, hoping to squeeze into the fifth spot in the rotation or a place in the bullpen, retired the first batter he faced with the bases loaded Wednesday, but allowed five runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings . . .
Left-hander Troy Patton underwent successful surgery on his torn left labrum Wednesday morning and is expected to be a candidate for a throwing program in the team's instructional league, Trembley said. . . .
Trembley said he did not expect any roster moves for the next few days because there would be no designated hitter for the team's upcoming games Thursday against the New York Mets and Friday against the Cardinals. He said he would need the extra bodies.