FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Orioles exercised some due caution with one of their most important young pitchers on Thursday, when they elected to skip Adam Loewen's next scheduled start due to a left shoulder injury. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said it was purely a precautionary move, and Loewen said he hasn't been feeling any extra pain.
"He told me if this was the regular season, he'd put me out there," Loewen said of Trembley. "But since I have the extra start -- since I was first out there and [scheduled to throw] six when everyone else was throwing five -- [he thought] it would be wise to skip this one. Let another guy show us what he's got, and then I'd just fill in the next time at the same pitch count."
Loewen's injury doesn't appear to be serious, but there's extra scrutiny around it because of the southpaw's recent history. He missed almost all of last year with a stress fracture in his left elbow and previously dealt with a minor tear in his left labrum, but Loewen said the latest ailment has nothing to do with the others.
In fact, the former first-round Draft pick expressed more concern with the team's ruling that he'll have to cut his hair.
"The big news is I have to cut my hair. ... It took a long time to grow," Loewen said with a deadpan expression. "A lot of times coming off surgeries, guys will get sore in other places because they're compensating for the previous injury or something like that. I don't think it's connected because I really wasn't tentative in my throwing. By next week, this will be all forgotten."
Loewen, the fourth overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, has logged an 8-6 record and a 4.98 ERA with the Orioles. He was 2-0 with a 3.56 mark through six starts last season before the elbow injury ended his year. Loewen initially took some time off to rehab the injury but eventually opted for a surgical remedy.
Both Loewen and Trembley described the current injury as something other than shoulder tightness or sharp pain. Loewen said that it just takes him a little longer to get ready to throw and that he's been dealing with that for a while. Now he expects to meet with the athletic trainers and undergo physical therapy to make sure his shoulder's intact.
"Once I start throwing, I feel fine," Loewen said. "I just wanted to get a more strict program where I was getting treatment every day and doing all the right things. They wanted to take the safer route, skip this start and make sure I get all the inflammation out of there. Then I'll make my next start on [Wednesday]."
Trembley has refused to give any hints as to who might be his Opening Day starter, but many analysts boiled it down to a two-man derby between Loewen and Jeremy Guthrie. Trembley said Friday that Loewen's injury won't affect his thinking and that he expects to have him back in full working order by the middle of next week.
"It's not a concern to me, because I'm confident that he'll be able to do this," said Trembley. "He wanted to pitch tomorrow, and he told me that he could pitch tomorrow. And I talked to him at about 10 minutes to seven this morning, but I told him that he was not going to pitch tomorrow. And he'll do a sideline on Sunday, take two days off and take his next turn normally."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.