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08/23/08 8:50 PM ET

Lowry tests arm by throwing off mound

Giants left-hander still has chance to pitch this season

SAN FRANCISCO -- Noah Lowry took a significant step in his comeback from left forearm surgery by throwing approximately 20 pitches off a bullpen mound Saturday, prompting manager Bruce Bochy to declare that the left-hander just might pitch late in the season -- although it's a long shot.

"I wouldn't rule it out completely," Bochy said. "He has worked hard. That would be a big step for him. But it's not necessary."

Lowry, the Giants' leading winner in two of the previous three seasons, has been throwing for about a month on flat ground. But tossing off a mound puts more stress on a pitcher's arm. Although Lowry and the Giants are upbeat about his progress, his next activity will be determined by how he responds to his bullpen session.

This marked the first time that Lowry had thrown off a mound since March 3, when he walked nine of 12 hitters in an exhibition game against Texas. He was diagnosed with exertional compartmental syndrome in his forearm, a rare ailment for a ballplayer, prompting surgery.

Lowry told MLB.com on Thursday that he intended to pitch in the Giants' instructional-league camp beginning in mid-September and go from there to winter ball, assuming his arm continued to improve. If he had a chance to pitch for the Giants in the regular season, he'd likely capitalize on that opportunity before heading for winter ball, which starts in October.

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