BALTIMORE -- One of Baltimore's top relief prospects went under the knife within the last two weeks, ending his season and reducing the team's stockpile of power arms. Jim Hoey underwent arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder, and the physicians found enough to fix that he'll spend the rest of the year rehabilitating and doing strength work.
"He's done until next year," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley before Wednesday's game. "I'm glad that he had it taken care of, because he's another power arm in this organization. He's still young enough. He doesn't have a whole lot of time here in the big leagues. Get it taken care of, and let's get him ready for next year."
Hoey, who missed virtually all of 2004 and '05 due to ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow, has been on Baltimore's disabled list since Spring Training. The hard-throwing right-hander was expected to compete for a bullpen job during the exhibition season, but he never felt right and Trembley never really knew what to do with him.
"It's unfortunate that it happened," said Trembley. "He was feeling some discomfort and he wasn't able to get loose. He'd throw one day and he'd have to be shut down for two. Obviously, it wasn't a figment of his imagination. ... With the way the procedures are now and the way guys come back from these things, they're telling me he'll be better. "
Shoulder surgeries are perhaps the most difficult thing to come back from for any big league pitcher, and team sources declined to detail the exact nature of the injury. Trembley said that the doctors initially wanted to "clean out" the pitcher's shoulder, but it's unclear as to what they found when they went under the skin.
Hoey had gone 3-5 with an 8.13 ERA in his brief audition with the Orioles, and Trembley expressed empathy for the spot he's in and hope that the 25-year-old will be able to use it as a learning experience.
"Mentally -- what he's gone through, what [Adam] Loewen's gone through, what [Troy] Patton's going through -- that's got to be tough for these young guys," he said. "They want to get to the big leagues. They want to stay here, they want to show you their best. Sometimes, what happens is that unfortunately these guys aren't totally honest. They want to be here so bad and they want to pitch so much that they bite the bullet to such a point. They should say something sooner."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.