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Notes: Gibbons to have surgery

Notes: Gibbons to have surgery

BALTIMORE -- One day later, the pain's the same and the story's a little different. On Saturday, Jay Gibbons admitted that the labrum in his left shoulder is torn, echoing a story first reported in The Baltimore Sun. The Orioles' designated hitter will undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday, an operation that will carry a five-month period of rehabilitation with it.

Gibbons, who's been playing with the injury for a few months, said he should be ready in time for Spring Training.

"Without a doubt -- that's why I'm having it now," he said Saturday. "I was trying to push it for the end of the season just so we wouldn't have to talk about this, but the doctors I talked to told me, 'Absolutely not. If you have this at the end of the season, you're looking at getting back going during Spring Training.' At this point, every day is crucial."

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The ailment first cropped up in late May, when Gibbons hurt himself diving for a ball in the outfield. Gibbons has mostly been used at DH since then, and he said the injury hasn't affected him at the plate. It's just kept him from being able to throw the ball effectively, and Gibbons said he's kept Baltimore's training staff abreast of the ailment all the way.

"They knew about it from Day 1," he said. "I said, 'Look -- all I know is I can play through it. I don't think it really affects me that much.' You know, everybody plays through injuries. They say, 'Look, I've got a bad knee,' or whatever. They get treatment and they play through it, and that's what I did. I got treatment pretty much every day and was able to at least play -- but not particularly well. But at least I got through it, and now's the time when it has to be taken care of."

Gibbons has hit .230 with six home runs and 28 RBIs this season, which is by far the low-water mark in his career. He told MLB.com Friday that he has been available to play the outfield virtually all season and that manager Dave Trembley decided to hold him out and protect him. On Saturday, Trembley responded to that comment.

"I read what he said, that he could've played the outfield, but it was me that didn't [let him]," he said. "With all due respect, the advice I got from the medical people was that if he would've gone out there and played -- if he would've dove for a ball or threw [wrong] -- he could've torn the labrum much worse. ... Right then and there, I made a decision that he wasn't going to play the outfield anymore because the medical people told me his condition could worsen."

From the player's perspective, Gibbons said he didn't think he had made the injury worse by playing with it for a few months. He said his shoulder has felt virtually the same all the way through, except for a few more aches and pains in the last month.

Now, he's hoping to be throwing again in December and swinging in January -- just like any other winter.

"I'm not a pitcher, so it's not like that where it would be a couple extra months [of rehab time]," Gibbons said. "It's probably a five-month thing, total. And, obviously, it will affect the way I work out this offseason, upper body-wise. But hopefully late in the offseason I can get into the weights again. We'll see. You never know until you get in there how your body's going to respond."

"I don't want him to blow his arm out. I didn't want to be the guy that ended his career," added Trembley. "Gibby's a tough guy. He's strong, he's tough and he didn't want anyone to know. And to his credit, he's not using that as an excuse."

Case closed: Chris Ray, Baltimore's injured closer, will head to the team's Minor League complex in Sarasota, Fla., to begin a three-week throwing program on Monday. The reliever has been on the shelf with a sprained right elbow for a few weeks and is hoping to return before the end of the season -- if his arm allows it to happen.

"It all depends on how things go and how my arm feels," he said. "Unfortunately, you don't know until you go out there and throw, but I'm optimistic I'll be able to come back before the end of the season."

After the throwing program, Ray will play in Minor League games for one of the team's affiliates -- most likely the Gulf Coast League team in Sarasota or one closer to Baltimore. He said that his rehab regimen has been fairly monotonous and that he's looking forward to getting a chance to throw again.

"For a while, it was just rest and treatments. Hot water, cold water and that whole type of deal," he said. "Lately, I've been getting into some strengthening exercises to strengthen up the muscles around the elbow. I think it was just getting some time for the inflammation to calm down and just getting ready to get back out there."

"After those three weeks, he'll be re-evaluated and we'll see where he's at," Trembley said. "Either he'll be ready to pitch or he'll need more time. He'll tell us, based upon his comfort level."

Changes: When Gibbons moves to the disabled list Sunday or Monday, the Orioles will likely promote a player who can get some at-bats as a designated hitter or in the outfield. Trembley said that utility man Freddie Bynum is likely a week away from returning from his own injury, so for now, Trembley would like to see a primarily offensive player join the club.

Quotable: "This injury's going to heal. First base hasn't even entered my mind since the one game I played in Spring Training. We'll see what happens, and wherever there's a spot -- hopefully, there's one open for me." -- Gibbons, on whether the surgery on his throwing shoulder will force a position switch

Coming up: The Orioles and Red Sox will play a series finale on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET that pits Steve Trachsel against Boston's Curt Schilling. Trachsel, heavily rumored to move at the non-waiver trading deadline, could still be dealt at some point.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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