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Notes: Loewen adds finishing touch

Notes: Loewen adds finishing touch

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Left-hander Adam Loewen is one of the up-and-coming starting pitchers the Orioles will depend heavily upon this season, and his performance in Saturday's 6-3 victory over the Nationals at RFK Stadium made manager Sam Perlozzo a happy man.

Loewen gave up one run on two hits in three innings in the regular-season finale for both teams. But it was the way he battled back after a shaky first inning that impressed Perlozzo.

"He was smart and knew what pitches were working and [when] to go to his secondary [stuff]," Perlozzo said.

Loewen gave up two hits and walked two in the first inning. Washington scored a run on catcher Paul Bako's passed ball. The Nationals then loaded the bases with two outs before Loewen struck out Ryan Church looking.

The left-hander breezed through the second and third, not allowing a hit or a ball out of the infield. Loewen finished the exhibition season with a 4-1 record and an impressive 1.64 ERA with 23 strikeouts and nine walks in 22 innings.

"It was a tuneup start," Perlozzo said. "It looks to me like he's ready to go."

Loewen is scheduled to start in the team's fourth game of the season, which comes on Friday in the opener of a three-game series with the Yankees in New York.

He went 6-6 with a 4.95 ERA in 2006.

Stats don't mean a thing: Miguel Tejada was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2006 after a stellar season, where he hit a career-best .330 with 24 homers and 100 RBIs.

He now has 240 career homers and 952 RBIs, but the All-Star shortstop said he'd much rather see the Orioles get into postseason play instead of winning individual honors.

"I think that's what I want," Tejada said. "I want to win. I think that's the more important thing -- winning. It doesn't matter what numbers I have. If we all have lesser numbers, and we're winning, to see this team in the playoffs, I'll be more happy."

Tejada also comes into this season without controversy swirling around, unlike last year, when several comments he made in the winter about his frustrations with losing and possibly wanting to be traded, hung over him.

On the road again: The Orioles find themselves in an unusual position on Opening Day -- away from Baltimore.

They've started each season at home since 1995, when the labor problems forced a late start and pushed the Orioles to begin at Kansas City.

But Perlozzo shrugged off any concerns about that, or the fact that the Orioles start the year with a six-game road trip against two playoff teams (Twins and Yankees).

"There are 81 games you've got to play on the road," Perlozzo said. "It just so happens this year we're starting on the road. There's nothing we can do. We've got to play them, and sooner or later you get to everybody and, hopefully, we'll have a good road trip."

Strong backup numbers: Backup catcher Bako finished his strong spring by going 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Saturday's win over Washington.

Bako got a game-tying RBI double in the second and followed with singles in the fourth and fifth. His fifth-inning single gave the Orioles a 5-2 lead at that point.

The catcher finished the spring with a .357 average, ending with no homers and three RBIs.

Trebelhorn in Phoenix: Bench coach Tom Trebelhorn went back to Phoenix to be with his wife, Elizabeth "Bo" Black, who's recovering from an aneurism suffered on Feb. 18. He's gone back and forth throughout Spring Training, and the Orioles expect him to come to Minnesota for Monday's season opener.

Final cuts: Perlozzo said the Orioles will make the final cuts to the 25-man roster Sunday. The Orioles will hold a workout starting at 11:30 a.m. ET at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the team is holding their rescheduled FanFest.

Quotable: "I expect a Cy Young guy to come out there and pitch like a Cy Young guy. He knows how to pitch; he throws hard, changes speed. He just battles. We've got a pretty good guy going against [Erik Bedard]." -- Perlozzo, on starting the season against Minnesota ace Johan Santana

Coming up: The Orioles now head to Minnesota where they open the season Monday night at 7:05 ET against the Twins. Bedard drew the Opening Day assignment against Santana.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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