Monday, February 1, 2010
Lowry pushes throwing session back
SAN FRANCISCO -- Left-hander Noah Lowry is in great shape and gearing up for what he hopes will be a successful comeback to the majors this season after missing the last two years.
Still, Lowry opted to push back a scheduled throwing session Tuesday in Arizona for major league teams to give himself more time to get ready for the audition.
His agent, Damon Lapa, said the pitcher has not sustained a setback but decided it would be best to first throw a few more bullpen sessions before being evaluated in the private workout. He has no physical limitations and is pain-free.
"He's close to where he wants to be," Lapa said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "We're confident once Noah throws for teams questions will be answered. Noah's missed a lot of time and understands the importance of this audition. If he's at 90 percent now, we're going to allow him the time to get to 100 percent because we know clubs have questions based on the time he's missed."
While the goal is still for Lowry to sign and be in a spring training camp on time this month, the former first-round draft pick isn't putting a deadline on himself to rush and get something done.
The Astros, New York Mets, Phillies, Rangers and Red Sox were among the teams expected to be interested in attending Lowry's session. Lapa said there are some teams already "more vigorous in their pursuit and expression of interest."
His medical records have been made available to every team.
The 29-year-old Lowry hasn't pitched since 2007 because of a variety of issues with his forearm and shoulder and is set to return in 2010. He had been prepared to pitch in front of about half the big league clubs Tuesday but that will now take place at a later date -- by the pitcher's choice.
Lowry had surgery for a rare neuromuscular problem in his left forearm, at the time diagnosed by the San Francisco Giants' medical staff as exertional compartment syndrome, on March 7, 2008, and then had an arthroscopic procedure to remove a bone spur from his left elbow in September that year.
But that was just the start of a complicated situation that led to a back and forth between Lowry's camp and the Giants about whether the team had misdiagnosed Lowry's original condition. The Giants denied any wrongdoing.
Lowry had been experiencing regular tingling in his forearm because of the nerve problem.
He was later diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome.
Lapa told ESPN.com last spring that the Giants' medical staff misdiagnosed the forearm injury 14 months earlier, subjecting Lowry to an unnecessary arm operation and turning a potential short-term recovery into a lengthy medical ordeal.
Lapa said Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Greg Pearl confirmed the diagnosis in separate consultations with Lowry. Lapa said the circulatory issue was the source of Lowry's forearm tightness in August 2007 and a mysterious control meltdown in spring training 2008, but that the Giants' medical staff failed to identify the problem.
Now, Lowry is ready for a fresh start. He has been working out under the direction of noted personal trainer Brett Fischer at Fischer Sports Physical Therapy & Conditioning in Phoenix.
Lapa hopes the pitcher will have several choices from different teams after he throws for scouts and front-office personnel. Lapa said an incentive-laded, one-year deal would be realistic for someone who has missed the past two years.
Lapa said he could have already signed Lowry up with a club for this season, but it was in everybody's best interest to have Lowry throw for an audience first.
"The best situation for us is to have him throw a great bullpen session in front of 20-plus teams and have his pick of situations," Lapa said.
Lowry was trying to make the Giants last spring training but dealt with scapula tightness and spent the entire season on the disabled list.
Lowry went 14-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 2007 despite missing the final month with tightness in his left forearm. He is 40-31 with a 4.03 ERA in five seasons with San Francisco, which selected Lowry 30th overall in the 2001 amateur draft.