Lowry's surgery likely to end season

Lowry's surgery likely to end season

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants responded sharply Tuesday to statements from left-hander Noah Lowry's agent that the ballclub misdiagnosed the pitcher's 2008 forearm injury.

Lowry underwent surgery on Tuesday at Baylor University in Texas for thoracic outlet syndrome, which involved removal of a rib to ease circulation and usually requires at least three months of recovery.

Lowry, 28, hasn't pitched competitively since early in last year's Cactus League season, when he inexplicably lost the ability to control the ball. He initially was diagnosed with exertional compartment syndrome, a neuromuscular condition that required forearm surgery on March 7, 2008. Lowry tried to rehabilitate his arm, but needed arthroscopic elbow surgery last September.

Damon Lapa, Lowry's agent, told ESPN.com on Tuesday that Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Greg Pearl confirmed the thoracic outlet syndrome diagnosis last week in separate consultations with Lowry. Lapa charged that Lowry's forearm tightness in August 2007, along with his loss of control last spring, stemmed from this circulatory problem. The Giants' medical staff, Lapa said, did not recognize this.

"Quite honestly, there's a sense of relief. Dr. Andrews and Dr. Pearl have been able to provide answers that the Giants have not been able to provide since Noah got hurt in the fall of 2007," Lapa told ESPN.com. "The two doctors have confirmed the condition and let us know that it's existed since 2007 and essentially been misdiagnosed."

The Giants took umbrage at Lapa's remarks.

"The Giants organization and its medical staff have always treated Noah Lowry's condition appropriately and with the utmost care," the team said in a statement. "We have never performed any medically inappropriate procedures on Mr. Lowry. Per Major League Baseball's labor agreement and federal laws regarding medical privacy, the Giants are prohibited from discussing specific medical information publicly. However, we can state that Mr. Lapa's accusations against our organization are factually inaccurate, intentionally misleading and irresponsible."

Mindful of the privacy laws, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was still free to discuss the team's desire for a healthy Lowry, who was San Francisco's leading winner in 2005 and '07. In 106 career appearances, including 100 starts, Lowry has a 40-31 record and a 4.03 ERA with the Giants.

"We want Noah back on the mound," Bochy said. "This guy's a good pitcher, a good starter. Our goal is and always will be to get Noah back on the mound."

The Giants have a $6.25 million option on Lowry's contract for 2010, which they'll likely decline. Lapa said that Lowry should resume full baseball activities later this summer and regain his ability to pitch well before Spring Training.

Other Major Leaguers who have undergone thoracic outlet syndrome include pitchers Jeremy Bonderman and Kenny Rogers and Texas infielder Hank Blalock.

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