Shoulder Problems Slow Orioles' Hobgood





BALTIMORE—It appears that 2009 first-round pick Matt Hobgood will get a late start to the 2011 season.

Hobgood, the fifth overall selection in 2009 out of Norco (Calif.) High, complained of shoulder soreness while playing catch in mid-December. He was scheduled to have therapy and enter a rehab program, beginning in January, that should last four to six weeks. The Orioles will re-evaluate him and decide how to proceed.

For now, the Orioles don't believe that surgery will be necessary. That opinion could change if the shoulder doesn't respond favorably.

Hobgood was playing catch at the Athletes' Performance Institute in California when the discomfort surfaced. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound righthander had been working out at the facility after receiving criticism for his poor conditioning last year.

The pain was significant enough that Hobgood had examinations by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens and renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham.

There's a strong possibility that he'll have to stay back at extended spring training rather than report to low Class A Delmarva or high Class A Frederick for Opening Day.

"I think they'll have to evaluate it after six weeks," farm director John Stockstill said. "I think it'll wind up being a strain. The rehab or physical therapy will determine how quickly he's ready. It'll probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of a rotator cuff strain."

Hobgood went 3-7, 4.40 in 21 starts at Delmarva last season. He allowed 90 hits, walked 38 and struck out 59 in 94 innings. His diminished velocity drew concerns within the organization.

Bird Seed

• The Orioles confirmed managers for their four full-season affiliates. Gary Allenson returns to Triple-A Norfolk after replacing Juan Samuel as the Orioles' third-base coach over the summer. Gary Kendall moves up from short-season Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie. Orlando Gomez (Frederick) and Ryan Minor (Delmarva) return to their posts. Brad Komminsk, who managed at Bowie the past three seasons, was named hitting coach at Norfolk. Komminsk replaces Richie Hebner, who is no longer with the organization.

• The Orioles re-signed catcher Michel Hernandez, who competed for the backup job in spring training before an injury ruined his chances. The 32-year-old Hernandez hit .263/.340/.332 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 190 at-bats at Norfolk last season.