BALTIMORE (AP) -Orioles left-hander Adam Loewen will be sidelined for much of the season with a stress fracture in his pitching elbow, a rare injury that further decimates a starting rotation already in disarray.
Loewen was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday. He last pitched Tuesday in Detroit, going five innings before leaving with pain in his forearm, elbow and biceps. After an MRI exam and a bone scan, the injury was determined to be in his elbow.
Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan said Loewen would need at least eight weeks before being able to begin a throwing program. Jim Duquette, the team's vice president of baseball operations, hoped Loewen would return ``somewhere towards the end of the season.''
Loewen is 2-0 with a 3.56 ERA in six starts. The fourth overall pick in the 2002 amateur draft was in his first full season as a starter with the Orioles.
``My arm felt great in spring training,'' Loewen said. ``Over the last couple of weeks it's been getting a little worse and a little worse. It wasn't huge pain for me, so I think in looking at it that way, recovery time won't be a huge problem. I think it will heal up fine.''
The Orioles did not immediately make a move to replace Loewen on the roster. His scheduled start Sunday against Cleveland will likely be filled by Brian Burres, who pitched four hitless innings of relief last week against the Indians.
Loewen is the latest casualty in a rotation racked by injury. Kris Benson is expected to miss the entire season with a partially torn rotator cuff, and Jaret Wright is on the disabled list a second time with a sore shoulder.
Before learning of Loewen's injury, manager Sam Perlozzo feared having to do without the young left-hander.
``It wouldn't be very good, that's for sure,'' Perlozzo said. ``We've already lost one of our starters (Wright), and if you lose someone like Adam it would be a pretty sizable blow.''
Flanagan said Loewen could potentially face surgery, but the Orioles want to take some time before deciding on a course of action.
``It's a pretty uncommon injury,'' Flanagan said. ``We're working through possible options, but the options are good. He'll probably be back by the end of the year at some point to rehab.''
Said Loewen: ``It's not really one of those injuries that you can rehab and rehab and push it. You have to let it rest. Once it's all healed up I can start getting my arm back in shape.
``I was so excited coming into this year and this is definitely a step back for me. It's frustrating. I worked so hard in this offseason and thought I made a few strides. But it's not the end of the world. I'm 23 and I know the future is going to be bright.''

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