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Wright's shoulder forces him back on 15-day DL

BALTIMORE -- Jaret Wright is back on the 15-day disabled
list with a shoulder injury, although the right-hander and the Baltimore Orioles insist this trip won't be a long one.

Wright was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a sore right shoulder. The move is retroactive to Wednesday, the day after he walked off the mound with shoulder stiffness during a game against the Detroit Tigers.

"Looking back on that game, coming out when I did, hopefully it will only be 15 or 16 days," Wright said. "We can get some good work and get ahead of this thing, instead of right now trying to keep my head above water. I think it's a good plan."

He hopes to be back in the rotation by the end of April.

"That's the goal," Wright said. "I've got to stay optimistic and get the work in to give myself the best chance to get out there."

Wright missed more than half the 2005 season with a strained right shoulder. He also missed significant parts of four straight seasons, from 1999-2002, with shoulder-related injuries.

"The good thing about it is, he feels a lot better than we expected and hoped for. We just wanted to get the thing corrected," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "We'll give him the time he needs, and then hopefully he'll be ready to go for us."

Because the Orioles have an off day April 19, Perlozzo figures Wright will miss only two starts before coming back in late April.

"We tentatively have him scheduled to start again around the 29th. It actually gives him some time to get some work on it and possibly get one or two rehab starts," Perlozzo said.

Obtained by the Orioles in an offseason trade that sent reliever Chris Britton to the New York Yankees, Wright was 0-2 with a 6.14
ERA in two starts this year. He pitched five shutout innings against Detroit before leaving in the middle of the sixth.

"I was encouraged over his last start," Perlozzo said. "I think he stopped pitching in time where he didn't do any damage, didn't do anything to stop him from coming back and being every bit as good as he was last time, or even better."

Wright was encouraged, too.

"I actually came in today, want to throw, play catch, and then we talked about it and then we set up a plan where in the next couple days I start playing catch again," he said. "Then we'll take it from there."

Wright's place on the roster will be taken by reliever Brian Burres. The left-hander made the team out of spring training but was sent to Triple-A Norfolk on opening day to make room for catcher Alberto Castillo, who was needed after Ramon Hernandez was placed on the disabled list.

"They explained what was going on," Burres said. "It's just something that happens in baseball, and you've got to roll with it. They told me they were going to try to get me back here as quick as they could. It was nice to get that call."

Long reliever Jeremy Guthrie is the leading candidate to fill Wright's scheduled start Sunday against Kansas City.

"If I start, great. Hopefully I can pitch as well as Jaret did his last outing," Guthrie said.

Guthrie threw three innings Tuesday and would be ready to start on the weekend if not forced into action Thursday or Friday.

"If he has to pitch long, then we'll have another plan to make," Perlozzo said.