Penn was scheduled to make his season debut Tuesday and has been mentioned as a long-term replacement for either Rodrigo Lopez or Bruce Chen. The 21-year-old was thriving for Ottawa, notching a 2-2 record and a 1.48 ERA in his first five starts. Now, the O's are unsure who will pitch Tuesday, but Kurt Birkins and John Halama are the main candidates.
Despite the ailment, the Orioles are expecting big things from Penn. The right-hander shot through the organization and made eight big-league starts last season, notching a 2-2 record and a 6.34 ERA. Perlozzo said he may have been overwhelmed, and he expects to see a more relaxed Penn this season -- whenever he's healthy enough to pitch.
"I thought he got the ball up a lot last year and didn't command his breaking ball as well," he said. "Again, he was a 20-year-old kid coming up to the big leagues with high expectations and trying to do a little bit more than maybe he should've done. Hopefully, he's learned from that and can come up here and help us. We certainly could use some help right now."
Only two teams in the Major Leagues -- Kansas City and Minnesota -- have a starting rotation with a higher ERA than Baltimore (5.79). When he recovers, Penn may be ready to help change that, but Perlozzo doesn't want to put too much on his plate.
"When he had the velocity and the stuff that he had at such a young age, you tend to say he's going to get better and better and better," he said, discussing the youngster's ceiling. "He'll dictate that. It really doesnt do you any good to put him some place. He's still got to get people out. He's going to dictate where he pitches in the rotation just like everyone else does."
Loewen, a former first-round draft pick, is in his last option year. The 22-year-old southpaw signed a Major League contract when he was drafted and has spent the past two seasons in the low minors. He just started Friday, though -- throwing six one-hit innings -- and may not be rested enough to start Tuesday.
Progress reports: Perlozzo said it's still too early to tell anything with Daniel Cabrera, who went on the disabled list a week ago with a case of shoulder inflammation. The Orioles seem to be getting closer to an activation date for Brian Roberts, though, and Perlozzo seemed optimistic it will come some time in the next few days.
"I think he gets better every day," he said about his second baseman, who's missed three weeks with a strained groin. "The trainer said he went through his exercises with a little more confidence today, so that's a good sign. He was going to go out and do his game routine. We'll see how he feels. He's getting close -- there's no question about it.
"It could be one day, could be two, could be three, but I think he's pretty close."
Sticking point: Corey Patterson batted eighth in Monday night's lineup, and Perlozzo said he likes him in the bottom third of the order. Patterson is batting .381 as the No. 7 hitter and .226 everywhere else, and the manager said he doesn't want to disrupt his comfort zone by moving him to the top of the lineup.
The question came up because of Baltimore's struggles to find a replacement leadoff hitter while Roberts has been hurt. The Orioles' first hitter has batted just .198 (17-for-86) in the last 19 games.
"I kind of like him where he's at right now," he said. "He's actually doing pretty well for us down there. He's almost like an RBI guy for us -- an extra RBI guy down there from the left side. He's also a speed guy down there, and he can do some things. It gives us a little dimension down in the order that we hadn't had for a while."
Testify: Perlozzo answered some questions about former Seattle manager Lou Piniella on Monday, saying that he expected his former boss to get another managing gig at some point. When asked what kind of advice he'd give a potential coach who wanted to work for Piniella, Perlozzo gave a fairly telling answer.
"Lou has the ability to weed out people that don't have some thick skin or are a little weak," he said. "To me, when it is all said and done, he's a great manager. The tougher the game, the better I think he manages. He loves that kind of competition, he loves that kind of challenge. If you can stand up to him and do your job, you won't have a problem with Lou.
"If you back down and go hide in the corner, you probably aren't as good of a coach as you should be."
Quotable: "If it's more than an upset stomach, then we'd probably know that tonight. We can do some juggling or look into some other options -- if there's any out there." -- Perlozzo talking about Penn's ailment
Coming up: The Orioles and Mariners will meet again Tuesday, with Baltimore's starter to be determined. The Mariners will counter with Joel Pineiro.