"They're calling it biceps tendinitis," Hoey said on Sunday. "It's on-and-off since 2006, when I had shoulder problems. It's basically something we can manage. It's just going to take the right combination [of treatments]."
Hoey, who has pitched on a limited basis for the Orioles in each of the last two seasons, has dealt with injury problems for much of his career. The former 13th-round Draft pick missed virtually all of 2004 and most of '05 after undergoing ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow, and has dealt with intermittent shoulder pain ever since.
The right-hander came back to save 33 games split between three levels -- Class A Delmarva, Class A Frederick and Double-A Bowie -- in 2006, reviving his prospect status. Hoey made 20 appearances at Bowie last year without allowing an earned run and went on to post a 2-0 record and a 1.33 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk before a late-season promotion.
Hoey struggled last September, but came into Spring Training with a chance at earning a back-end bullpen job. He's been sidelined since March 8 with the recurring bout of tendinitis, and now he's searching for a way to shake the pain.
"Right now I'm just relaxing, resting," he said on Sunday. "There's inflammation, so we're just trying to get that down. When we get that down, I'm good to go. ... It's tough to find out what your body can do."
Hoey, who has a 3-5 career record and an 8.13 ERA in the big leagues, said that he was relieved to learn the nature of his injury, but frustrated by the timing and the fact that it may spoil his Spring Training.
"It's the same kind of thing," he said. "If you don't know what's going on, you can't take care of it. I was doing everything I needed to do, and maybe I was even doing it in excess. Now we've just got to find the right combination."
Orioles manager Dave Trembley has used his time without Hoey to evaluate a few other relievers, namely Rule 5 Draft pick Randor Bierd and new acquisitions Dennis Sarfate and Greg Aquino. Trembley was hoping to have a high-velocity arm step up and claim setup duties in the eighth inning, but now he knows he'll likely have to do without Hoey.
"The trainers got him," Trembley said on Saturday. "I don't know when he's going to pitch again."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.