Showalter talks about today's transaction and updates injuries

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is trying to trade outfielder Endy Chavez, who was designated for assignment today to make room for outfielder Nate McLouth on the 25- and 40-man rosters.

"Endy will end up on his feet shortly. I know Dan's going to explore some things with him and we'll go from there," said manager Buck Showalter.

"There are still some things that could happen for Endy that would benefit both of us. We'll see."

McLouth would have been playing for another team if the Orioles hadn't purchased his contract. He extended the date on his opt-out clause until midnight last night, and other teams had expressed interest in him.

"Nate's been doing well down there," Showalter said. "I think everybody was in agreement that we wanted to take a look at him up here and see if he could bring some things. He's been doing well down there. He's obviously an experienced guy and somewhat younger. At the very least, we think he can bring some of the things that Endy brought for us.

"Endy was a class act. It was a tough conversation today, but I think he understands how the game works. It's a tough one. Good teammate and a good player. He just never really got it going consistently. He was hurt a lot. Endy's got some good baseball ahead of him. We think Nate does, too.

"Nate had acquired, in order to come to us, some rights to things. I think he held off a little bit and gave us an extension on it because he wasn't quite where he wanted to be. So, he extended the timing on it. Nate McLouth was going to be in the big leagues today or tomorrow with somebody. We had been asked about him. We feel like with Ron Johnson down there and John Russell's knowledge of Nate and our knowledge where Endy was and what have you, we wanted to take a look at him.

"We're finally starting to develop some depth down there that comes through good drafts and good trades and good six-year free agent acquisitions."

McLouth can play all three outfield positions and is a plus runner and defender.

"He can do a lot of things that we're in need of," Showalter said. "We'll see if he can bring it at this level. It's not like he's a guy who's never been here. He's played at a high level, and like all guys, had his struggles. But they think they've clicked on something that has put him in a position where we want to take a look at him and see if it plays up here."

Showalter considered batting McLouth first tonight and lowering Nick Markakis, but he decided against it.

"I actually thought a little bit today about moving him out of there, because Nate has had a lot of experience leading off, but I want him to get his feet on the ground a little bit, not throw too much at him early on," Showalter said. "I really like what Nick's doing for us leading off.

"Right now, I'm OK with where Nick is. We'll see with Nate if he gets it going."

Meanwhile, Jason Hammel is playing catch from 90 feet at his home in Rhode Island and could begin throwing off a mound in Sarasota in 1 1/2 weeks - which puts him slightly ahead of schedule - after he increases his flat-ground distance to 120 feet.

"They still need to get all that stiffness and discomfort out of there (knee) because you don't want to start that too quickly and get a setback," Showalter said.

Stu Pomeranz threw off a flat mound today in Sarasota as he slowly recovers from oblique and back injuries.

It will take three or four days for the Orioles to know whether Jim Thome's epidural alleviated the pain in his neck caused by a herniated disc.

Brian Roberts' hip surgery on Thursday was a success. Doctors didn't find anything they weren't anticipating beyond a labral tear that was stitched up.

"Everything went well," Showalter said. "They didn't have to do some things that they were hoping they wouldn't have to which would have made it a lot longer. They found what they thought and all they had to do is some stitching down.

"If everything goes well, he'd be ready to go in the spring. Richie (Bancells) said there was some potential they could find something that could put that in jeopardy, but they didn't find that."

Nick Johnson isn't working out in Sarasota. He's still at home and remains on the 60-day disabled list with a right wrist injury.

"There's nothing markedly different with him," Showalter said.

Showalter isn't ready to count out Johnson for the rest of the season, but his return is looking more unlikely.

"I wouldn't have him hear that or read that out of my mouth," Showalter said. "Those things get managed and maybe he's able to do something, but I don't think that's imminent."

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