MINNEAPOLIS -- Adam Loewen will not be back with the Orioles until early July, but when the injured left-hander returns, he will be headed to the bullpen.

Loewen has been rehabbing a sore left elbow, which has had him shelved on the 15-day disabled list since April 25, in extended spring camp at the club's complex in Sarasota, Fla. He will remain there until Saturday, at which point he will begin his rehab program.

Manager Dave Trembley said he informed Loewen of his bullpen role when the team was in St. Petersburg a few weeks ago. The Orioles skipper said the club made the decision solely as a precaution to limit his pitches.

"He's fine with it. He understands," Trembley said. "I think he feels a lot more comfortable with it because of the shorter periods that he'll have to pitch. He won't have to worry about 90-100, 110 pitches."

Loewen will start some games during his rehab stint, and he'll probably begin coming out of the bullpen closer to his return, according to Trembley. The Orioles would like Loewen to throw at least 15 innings in rehab before he returns to the big league team.

Trembley said he doesn't know yet what Loewen's permanent role will be -- that will be determined after the season. But it is likely that Loewen will not return to the rotation in 2008.

Loewen's role in the 'pen will be somewhat new to the southpaw. He has pitched in relief only three times in 32 career games in the big leagues.

Loewen went 0-1 with a 7.85 ERA in four starts with the Orioles this season before being placed on the DL.