Notes: Shuey just glad to be pitching
Front office shakeup leaves questions; O's add new coach
SAN DIEGO -- Paul Shuey's return to the big leagues may have looked like an uneventful inning in the box score, but it really represented a triumph of medical technology and the human will. Shuey had last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2003 and was forced to prematurely retire due to a persistent hip condition that required four surgeries.
The last surgery -- done last July in Montreal -- was an experimental resurfacing procedure that used a metal piece to cover the ball of his right hip joint. Shuey's velocity has steadily built back up, and he's been effective enough to warrant a return to the Majors. He allowed three hits and a run Tuesday, but the real news was that he pitched at all.
"It actually felt great just to get back out there, throw some strikes and get after the guy," he said Wednesday. "It's been a long time. Obviously, going through retiring because you can't play through the 4th of July last year, when I was able to get this new hip that's holding up -- and it's holding up nice -- it's just taken a little bit of time."
Shuey, 35, was in the prime of his career when the injury began to sap his efficiency. He had his first hip operation all the way back in 1999, and the surgery allowed him to get through four more seasons. The right-hander required another surgery in 2003, but that one wasn't able to alleviate the pain associated with pitching.
The next surgery, in 2004, took away some of the pain but didn't allow him to approach his old form. Things looked desperate for a while, and Shuey said he wasn't even able to pick up his children or play in a church softball game as recently as 2006. Then he found out about the experimental surgery, known as a Zimmer procedure.
Since the operation was as yet unapproved in the United States, Shuey went to Canada to get it done. And it's given him no complications, no second guesses and no reason to go back to the doctor for a checkup.
"Where are you going to go," Shuey asked. "Fly out to Montreal and see those guys? And what are they going to do? I've got a metal hip. Are they going to do a metal check or something? I know they've talked about a blood test with some of the patients, but I wasn't a fit for that, because you need to get into a regimen of checking blood to see if metal filings get in there. This is a better machine piece -- that's why I went up there to get this done."
Shuey missed the first two weeks of the season with a strained right Achilles tendon and missed the first week of June with a strained right hamstring. He threw 21 decent innings for Triple-A Norfolk, though, and didn't allow a run in nine of his last 12 games in the Minor Leagues. As of now, Shuey's just happy to be healthy and throwing well.
"I feel healthy," Shuey said. "I really do. I don't really have any kind of injuries at all. I feel pretty strong. My velocity will come back a little bit down there. My dad told me I wasn't throwing as hard last night, but whatever. It's one of those things where if you hit your spots, you're going to get them out."
Shuffle mode: Now that Andy MacPhail is on board as the team's president of baseball operations, nobody's precisely sure how that will effect the executive tandem of Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette, who have made most of the baseball decisions for the past year. Even Duquette, in fact, isn't sure how things will shake out.
"At some future date, we'll know," he said. "We'll have a full idea, but at this point it's still a little early since he just came on board. We'll sort that out. I'm not really concerned about it at this point."
Duquette said he and Flanagan found out about MacPhail's hiring on Monday, which is virtually the same time as the rest of the baseball world. And with the team switching managers and hitting the road, Duquette hasn't had time to touch base with his new titular boss. That should happen next week, allowing everyone to sort out their roles.
"[I was] a little bit surprised, but Andy has a terrific reputation in the game," Duquette said. "I certainly view it as a positive for us. I think it's going to be a good thing for the organization."
New coach: The Orioles added another member to their coaching staff Wednesday, when they tabbed former big-league pitcher Bruce Kison to fill the vacant role of bullpen coach. Dave Trembley, the former bullpen coach, left that job to take the reins of the team as interim manager in the wake of Sam Perlozzo's dismissal.
"On Monday, when I went into talk to Jim and Mike, they told me that Bruce would join us," Trembley said. "He will be the bullpen coach, and he was in Spring Training for most of the time with us."
Trembley shook up the lineup Wednesday in his second game as manager, and he said that he was basically looking for change for the sake of change. The Orioles have tried everything, he said, so they might as well stop looking at statistical breakdowns and splits for specific matchups.
"We've lost nine games in a row here," he said. "I'm just trying to put a lineup together that will maybe break the ice a little bit. I think everything else has been tried. Sam tried all the matchups, and who does what against this guy. I think, sometimes, that stuff's got to go out the window. You put a team out there that can help win tonight."
Quotable: "It's held up to the workload. My thing is just to try to get my stuff as good as it can be and try to be effective." -- Shuey on his right hip, which hasn't given him any problems thus far this season
Coming up: The Orioles and Padres will meet again Thursday for their series finale, a 3:35 p.m. ET matinee that pits Erik Bedard against San Diego's David Wells. Bedard has just one win in his last 11 starts.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.