DENVER -- The news on pitchers Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf on Friday wasn't encouraging. Lowe does not have a strained groin, but, according to a club official, he has "irritation in the left hip," and that's never good for a pitcher. In fact, that was the original diagnosis for pitchers Jason Isringhausen of the Cardinals last year and Justin Duchscherer of the Oakland A's this year, and both ultimately required arthroscopic hip surgery. Lowe's symptoms -- sharp pain in the groin area when he lands on every pitch, but no pain otherwise -- are classic for that condition, as the pain is referred from the point of injury. He said he's had similar twinges in the past, but never repeatedly pitch after pitch as it was Wednesday night, and he was puzzled with the diagnosis of a hip problem.
He said the discomfort began when he warmed up for a Sunday emergency-relief appearance without stretching. Lowe said his MRI results were being sent for analysis to the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo., where hip specialist Dr. Marc Philippon is a pioneer of the surgical procedure. Lowe played catch gingerly on flat ground before rain fell on Friday and said he was hopeful of testing the hip off a mound on Saturday. He said the entire hip area was stiff and sore on Friday, the expected aftermath of the gadolinium injection in Thursday's MRI procedure. "Any time you're dealing with the groin area, you have to throw off a mound to see how the leg reacts," said Lowe, who suffered a bad groin tear while he was a Minor Leaguer. "When I throw off a mound, I'll be able to tell right away how it feels." Lowe has never been on the disabled list or missed a start because of injury in the Major Leagues. The club gave no further details of Lowe's condition, citing medical privacy restrictions. Nobody is talking about surgery yet, nor has there been confirmation of any tears in the joint. Not all tears require surgery. Oakland first baseman Dan Johnson, diagnosed with a labral tear at the end of Spring Training, returned after a month of rehab. Uncertainty over Wolf: Officials were reluctant to say anything definitive about Wolf, who struggled through a Minor League rehab start on Wednesday and said he was stiff on Thursday. On Friday, neither Wolf nor manager Grady Little would say when or where Wolf would next test his recovering shoulder, but it doesn't sound like it will be in the Major Leagues any time soon. "I'll be here tomorrow," is all Wolf would say about his plans. Wolf has been out four weeks with a shoulder impingement. Martin pleased with day off: Catcher Russell Martin actually welcomed being out of the original lineup on Friday night, with Mike Lieberthal scheduled to start. Martin has been nursing a stiff lower back, and his average over the past two weeks has dropped from .315 to .297. "This day off is perfect," said Martin. "Normally in a game, I'm all intensity, but I haven't felt like I've been doing that lately. I'm not feeling as good as I did at the beginning of the year, but it's the same as last year. When you're catching, you're going to get banged up." With the Rockies using left-hander Jeff Francis on Saturday, Little said he would give Olmedo Saenz a start at first base. Rainout helps rotation: Little said he would push back his rotation because of Friday night's rainout. Brett Tomko, originally scheduled to start on Friday night, will start on Saturday night, with Chad Billingsley delayed until Sunday. Mark Hendrickson, Sunday's scheduled starter, will be in the bullpen. Penny recovering: Little said he expected Brad Penny to make his next start, even though there was still discomfort after the abdominal cramp that drove him from Thursday night's game. "It's something we can treat, and he can continue to pitch on Tuesday," Little said. "There's still soreness." Las Vegas update: Delwyn Young, who played in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Albuquerque earlier in the month, is batting .416 with four home runs, 19 RBIs, 28 runs scored and has an on-base percentage of .448. He has hit in 28 of his last 31 games and has compiled a batting average of .435 (54-for-124) over that span. Andy LaRoche is in the midst of his best month of the season, batting .408 with nine home runs, 22 RBIs and a .488 on-base percentage. He is also slugging .930 and has walked 12 times in comparison to his 10 strikeouts in July. Chin-Lung Hu was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville following his MVP performance at the Futures Game in San Francisco and has gone on to hit .420 with three homers, 12 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 12 games in July. International debut: Joris Bert, the Dodgers' 19th-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, made his professional debut on Friday night for the Gulf Coast League Dodgers. The French outfielder became the first player drafted out of the MLB's European Academy. Postponement trivia: Friday night's rainout was the first at Coors Field since Sept. 21, 2004. The Rockies had a doubleheader postponed April 28, 2005, by snow. Coming up: Tomko (2-7, 5.42 ERA) opposes Jeff Francis (10-5, 4.22) at 5:05 PT on Saturday night at Coors Field.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.