Notes: Wright meets with doctor
No structural damage found in Baltimore righty's shoulder
BALTIMORE -- Jaret Wright got some good news and some bad news Wednesday, when he had a team physician check out his injured right shoulder. The doctor found no structural damage, and Wright reported no acute pain, but he admitted that the sensation is similar to the one he felt in 2005, when he missed half the season with a shoulder strain.
Wright already has had two surgeries on his shoulder, and he isn't sure whether he'll be able to make his next start. For now, the Orioles are planning on treating him with ice and electronic stimulation. If he recovers enough to throw a side session within the next few days, he may be able to start Sunday. Otherwise, he may be headed to the disabled list.
"When you just want to be out there and playing, you deal with stuff like this and there's only one way to look at it," Wright said after his team's 4-1 loss Wednesday night. "You've just got to keep going and keep battling to get out there."
The Orioles easily could fill Wright's spot for one turn through the rotation, but they might need to summon someone from the Minor Leagues if he needs to go to the disabled list. Wright met with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andrew Cosgarea late Wednesday, and he said there were encouraging things that came out of the examination.
"As far as the strength of the [rotator] cuff, I thought it was better than expected. We're just going to try to treat it and go from there," Wright said of his damaged shoulder, which tightened up on him Tuesday night. "It's a lot of pain. Today, after the treatment, it feels a lot better than when I got here this morning. That's encouraging."
If Baltimore decides not to place Wright on the DL, long reliever Jeremy Guthrie becomes the immediate favorite to take his rotation slot. Guthrie has thrown 52 and 49 pitches in his two outings -- both more than two innings -- and has pitched on the same day as Wright both times. If needed, he could ramp up to 70 pitches and perhaps five innings.
Hayden Penn, who has long been tabbed as the heir apparent for a rotation slot, likely won't be considered this time. Penn was scratched from his second start for Triple-A Norfolk for health reasons and may not be ready.
"If [Wright is] not ready to go, then he'll miss one start," said Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo. "At that point, we'd have to look at how the schedule falls and decide whether it's worthwhile to DL him or not. We make plans just in case we get some bad news. We haven't decided yet. We want to make sure we don't jump the gun here."
Penn, long considered of Baltimore's top pitching prospects, likely will stay in the Minor Leagues until he's fully healthy. The pitcher has reported soreness in the area of his forearm and elbow, so the O's want to be careful.
"We're just being cautious with him," said Jim Duquette, vice president of baseball operations. "We backed him off."
Empty seats: The Orioles went from 48,159 fans in their home opener to 18,594 in their second game. Wednesday's contest was the second smallest crowd in Camden Yards history, with 13,288 fans in attendance. The record for the lowest attendance is 13,194, set last year, and Perlozzo said the weather may be a factor this time.
"It's been cold," he said. "I don't know if the kids are in school or out of school. We can't concern ourselves [with that]. We pretty much know what we have to do to get that back in sync. That's what we're working on."
Left out: Through their first seven games, the Orioles are batting just .206 against left-handed pitchers. The Mariners were hitless through their first four games, and only three other teams (Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit) ranked lower in the American League.
Giveaway: The first 20,000 fans at Friday night's game against the Royals will receive a knit beanie cap courtesy of MASN, Baltimore's new cable network. The hat comes in black and orange with white trim and has "Orioles" written in script on the front and a MASN logo on the back.
Coming up: The Orioles will play host to the Royals on Thursday night for the series opener of a four-game set. Steve Trachsel gets the ball for Baltimore, and Gil Meche will throw for Kansas City.
Quotable: "We're not real concerned about that at this particular point. We need to start getting some wins on the board, and then we'll talk about that." -- Perlozzo, on the attendance and his team's record
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.