The bad news is that Lowry is in all likelihood finished for the season after undergoing successful but debilitating rib removal surgery yesterday. The rib removal was intended to correct a circulation problem Lowry has been suffering.
The worse news is that his agent popped off to the media in terms highly unflattering to the Giants' medical staff. Considering Lowry's contract could be up end of this season, the contentious nature of these remarks renders it unlikely that Lowry would receive -- or even accept -- another contract with the Giants.
Lowry's surgery was intended to correct a thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition resulting in a dangerous compression of blood vessels and nerves between the neck and shoulder. Lowry had previously been diagnosed with a different nerve malady in 2008, and had corrective surgery -- a surgery Lowry's agent says was an unnecessary misdiagnosis that cost the former number three starter more than a year of his career.
"Regardless of how many doctors he saw in the organization, none of them was able to diagnose the root of the problem.," Lowry's agent Damon Lapa told the Chronicle. "They tried a variety of treatments with no symptomatic relief and left Noah in a situation where he's worked himself into the best shape of his life and he still had symptoms and pain."
"Noah has been working diligently, and he's been frustrated for the past 12 months or so of, without a clear cause or diagnosis, not knowing why he's not able to do what he enjoys," Lapa continued. "There's nothing worse than robbing a guy of what he loves to do."
The Giants responded to Lapa's remarks today in carefully worded legal-ese that would make Carmen Policy proud. "We have never performed any medically inappropriate procedures on Mr. Lowry," the team said in a statement. "Per Major League Baseball's labor agreement and federal laws regarding medical privacy, the Giants are prohibited from discussing specific medical information publicly. However, we can state that Mr. Lapa's accusations against our organization are factually inaccurate, intentionally misleading and irresponsible."
There goes that $6.25 million option for the 2010 season.
The real shame here is that Lowry used to be one of the Giants' most promising young pitchers. He led the Giants in wins as recently as 2007, winning 14 games and posting a 3.92 ERA. But he didn't make it past August of 2007 due to injuries, and he hasn't thrown in a game for the Giants since.
And, most likely, won't ever again.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks there are actually worse things than "robbing a guy of what he loves to do" as long as you're paying him $2.5 million a season.