Notes: Roberts returns after scare
Possible kidney stone sent All-Star to hospital on Wednesday
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Brian Roberts returned to Baltimore's Spring Training facility on Thursday afternoon, one day after a health scare forced him to go to the emergency room. The second baseman woke up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning with what he characterized as a "very, very, very sharp pain in the stomach" and had to call for an ambulance.
Roberts said he woke up at 4 a.m. ET and got to the hospital a half-hour later, where they hit him with a battery of tests designed to diagnose his ailment. He didn't get home until 8:30 and didn't feel better until the following day.
"It just kind of gradually started going away," Roberts said. "I think they think it's a kidney stone, but I didn't have the excruciating pass of it. Mine must've broken up or something. It was more of the onset that was so bad."
Roberts said he expects to practice on Friday, but he also said he had a doctor's appointment later Thursday that could change his prognosis. At any rate, he was relieved to know that it wasn't something more serious.
"I guess they say it can be really painful going down the tract," he said of kidney stones. "I've never had a kid. ...If that's what childbirth feels like, I don't want anything to do with it."
The switch-hitter is well known for visiting hospitals and being an advocate for sick children, but the last time he'd been to a hospital for his own health scare was in 2005, when he suffered a potentially career-threatening injury. Roberts dislocated his elbow that season, and he said his trip to the hospital Wednesday reminded him of that incident.
[Assistant athletic trainer Brian] Ebel came to the hospital and he said, 'Remember the last time we sat in a hospital room?'" said Roberts. "[I said], 'Yeah, it wasn't that much fun, either.' This one was better than the other one, though.
Loewen behold: Adam Loewen took another step in his return from a stress fracture in his left elbow on Thursday, when he threw 25 pitches with hitters standing in the batter's box. Loewen, who hasn't pitched in a game since May 1 of last year, threw with an easy motion and showed no ill effects of the injury that interrupted last season.
"It was a big deal to get back on the mound and face hitters," Loewen said a half-hour after his mound session. "It feels good to get through it and feel good. I felt really comfortable and that was the biggest thing."
"I saw him throw a couple really good breaking pitches," added Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "Loose arm, nice delivery. He walked off the mound with a smile on his face, so this was a big day for him."
Loewen did have one alarming moment, but a portable screen helped protect him. The first swing of his pitching session resulted in a hard grounder back through the box that caromed off the metal edge of the screen. Loewen did a shuffle step to his left and instantly went back to pitching, putting the moment behind him as soon as he could.
"I'd rather not have the cage there so I can field it," he said of the hard grounder, which seemed destined to hit him in the lower body. "It wasn't scary. Actually, it was kind of scary. I forgot about that one."
Trembley said that Lowen doesn't have any restrictions and that he'll be treated like every other pitcher on the team. The former first-round Draft pick is one of the key elements of the rebuilding process, though, and may require more scrutiny.
"He was out here early this morning working on his fielding at 8:30. He wants to do what he can do to catch up," said Trembley. "If anything, what we're trying to do is monitor what he's doing and not let him overextend himself. That's something we're going to have to watch very carefully, but he looked very good."
"I think we got one more [live practice] to hitters, and then we get on the mound," said Loewen. "Next time, I'll probably let it go a little more. The next test will be when I get on a mound in a game. We'll see how I feel then."
Rebuttal: Ryan Dempster, a former teammate of Kevin Millar's, responded to some playful comments made by Baltimore's first baseman on Thursday. Millar had previously said that Dempster's team, the Cubs, would have to come through the Orioles if they wanted to win the World Series. He also predicted he'd hit a homer off Dempster.
When those comments were relayed to Cubs' camp in Arizona, Dempster replied in kind.
"It's a pretty bold prediction," Dempster said. "If he wants to do that, tell him I welcome the challenge. It'd be fun -- mano a mano. We play them this year, right? I'll welcome that any day of the week. Hopefully, I'll be scheduled to start then."
Rainout: The Orioles had to cut their practice short on Thursday because of rain, but Trembley said the weather didn't stop them from doing everything that needed to be done.
"We got it in. I was already in the back throwing some extra batting practice to some guys that wanted to get some extra swings," he said. "All it was was the last half of the last group. We took them in the cage and let them hit. We got everything in today and had a much better tempo. The fundamentals were better today.
"The guys settled in a little bit today because we could start on time. I think tomorrow will be more of the same."
Quotable "I just wanted to get out there, have a hitter in the box and feel comfortable. I wasn't really looking for anything to be spectacular. I just wanted to get my feet wet again." -- Loewen on his mound stint
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Carrie Muskat contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.