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Shoulder inflammation send O's Sherrill to 15-day DL

BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer George Sherrill was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with left shoulder inflammation, a disappointing setback for the All-Star pitcher who has 31 saves and has already exceeded a career high in innings pitched.

Sherrill had an MRI on Tuesday, 24 hours after complaining of stiffness in his pitching arm.

"The MRI news actually was good. The doctor told me that the MRI, side-by-side, looked identical to the one they took in spring training," club president Andy MacPhail said. "There is a little inflammation, which they injected and prescribed rest. So we don't have any long-term concerns at the present time. It just looks like something that's going to be facilitated by rest."

MacPhail said Sherrill would go without picking up a baseball for a week, then start a throwing program.

Sherrill has pitched 50 1/3 innings this season; his previous career high was 45 2/3 innings with Seattle last year. The left-hander was also extended for 2 1/3 innings in the All-Star game because the AL was close to running out of pitchers.

Asked if that appearance might have contributed to the shoulder injury, Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said, "That would be pure speculation. I think that would be easy to fall back on and point fingers. I'd prefer to take the high road and stay away from that."

Said MacPhail: "The doctors tell us that stuff is cumulative. It's not a function of one event. So I don't think we can hang anybody on that."

The 31-year-old Sherrill has only three saves since the All-Star break. Trembley has tried not to overuse him, but was not completely surprised over the development.

"It's something that happens over a long period of time. It's a wear and tear situation, and then finally it reaches a point where you've got to fix it," Trembley said. "To be honest with you, I did not particularly see this coming but I'm not totally shot out of the water by it. I understand the background and how many innings he's pitched."

Sherrill came to the Orioles in the deal that sent pitcher Erik Bedard to Seattle. He is 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA, but is a big reason why Baltimore is hovering around the .500 mark.

"I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out what a central figure he's been on our ballclub," Trembley said.

The move is retroactive to Aug. 16. There is no timetable for Sherrill's return.

"We have reinforcements," MacPhail said, "so there isn't a great urgency."