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08/21/08 4:36 PM ET

Lowry confident he'll play winter ball

Giants lefty feels no tingling, needs to build up arm strength

SAN FRANCISCO -- Noah Lowry said on Thursday that he intends to accelerate his comeback from left forearm surgery by playing winter ball, assuming his arm has recovered sufficiently by then.

Lowry said that he and the Giants' medical staff haven't yet determined when he'll begin throwing off a mound -- a step he could take soon, as manager Bruce Bochy related Tuesday. The left-hander's chances of pitching competitively before the Major League regular season ends are bleak, since the Minor League season will conclude early next month, thus denying Lowry the opportunity to make injury rehabilitation appearances.

But although specifics are lacking in Lowry's timetable, he seemed to believe that he'll feel fit enough to begin throwing more earnestly by the middle of next month, when the Giants start instructional league at their Arizona training complex for their top prospects. And he sounded downright definitive about winter ball.

"I'm definitely going to winter ball, if I can find a place to play," Lowry said. "We've talked to the Giants organization about working together and finding a good spot. ... I'll just roll straight from 'instrux,' I imagine, into winter ball."

Lowry, the Giants' leading winner in two of the previous three seasons, has been playing catch every other day for about a month.

"My arm is back to -- I don't want to say 'normal,' but with all the time [off], my arm's had a chance to fully recover," he said.

The 27-year-old reached this stage in late April, but the difference now is that the tingling feeling has left his arm.

That false start has helped Lowry temper his enthusiasm.

"I have to build up the right kind of arm strength once we get on the mound," he said. "I'll get through this next day, and if it's going good, we're moving in the right direction. Because at this point last time, it was when things went south for me."

Still, make no mistake: Lowry's characteristic confidence remains intact.

"The season's just starting," he said.

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