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 Adam Loewen Career Tracker

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bobrob2004
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PostSubject: Adam Loewen Career Tracker   Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:36 pm

Source

I'll go in more depth later, but Adam Loewen is done as a pitcher. He's going to reinvent himself as an outfielder/first baseman, perhaps as early as the fall instructional league.

Another surgery on his elbow would have sidelined him for an estimated 1 1/2 years, and he wasn't willing to go down that path.

"I'm always going to be a pitcher," he said. "I've been doing it since I was 9 years old. It's going to be hard to let it go, but God has a plan for me."

Also, the Orioles acquired shortstop Juan Castro from Triple-A Colorado Springs for Triple-A Norfolk infielder Mike McCoy. Castro was added to the 25-man roster, and the Orioles outrighted Freddie Bynum to Triple-A. Bynum has 72 hours to accept the assignment.

Randor Bierd has returned from his injury rehab assignment. He's on his way to the ballpark right now. To make room, the Orioles placed Greg Aquino on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.

More to come.


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Last edited by bobrob2004 on Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Adam Loewen Career Tracker   Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:30 pm

Go Loewen! Got to stick by the Canadians.


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PostSubject: Re: Adam Loewen Career Tracker   Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:31 pm

From mlb.com:

BALTIMORE -- One door closed and another one opened for Adam Loewen on Saturday, when the former first-round pick announced the end of his pitching career and the resumption of his offensive ambitions. The southpaw's elbow has given out in each of the last two seasons, and he's decided to step off the mound and become a position player again.

Loewen, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture last summer and experienced the same injury all over again this season, has consulted with team physician Jon Wilckens and noted orthopedic specialist James Andrews on the best path of recovery, and he said Saturday that coming back as a hitter could help him avoid another operation entirely.

"They believe that the only reason that my arm feels the way it does is strictly from throwing off the mound at a high intensity," he said. "So if I was playing first base or outfield or just having time in between throws, not throwing 90-93 off a mound, then my arm's going to be fine. It's not going to bother me swinging the bat, and I won't have to have surgery.

"If I did choose the other path of pitching, it would be a long road with no clear ending, so this is not a simple decision, but it's right there in front of me and it was easy to make for me."

Loewen, the fourth overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, has already been through the rehabilitation process. The left-hander underwent an operation last summer that placed a pin in his elbow, but he never really grew comfortable with it after the surgery. Facing the same kind of recovery all over again, Loewen opted to switch paths.

"It was devastating news," he said of learning that he'd re-fractured his pitching elbow. "But I've always had a backup plan, so I'm sure I didn't take it as hard as anybody else would. And as much as I love pitching and love playing for the Orioles, I still have a chance to do that. It's going to be a long and tough road, but I did it one time, hopefully I can do it again. I know what to expect and I think I'm mature enough where I can do this and I'm still young enough to where I can do this."

"The good news," added Andy MacPhail, the team's president of baseball operations, "is that we have a player here that, as an amateur, [was] very much a hitting prospect as well, and he has assured me that he can still hit and wants to hit. So the club is prepared to embark on that path with him, and once this season is over, we will start career No. 2 for Adam Loewen, which will be in the outfield somewhere in the Baltimore Orioles system, provided we can sort through a number of obstacles and technicalities that we have to agree upon to sort of get this career re-started."

MacPhail was referring to a bunch of contractual language that will have to be figured out for Loewen to remain in the organization. The Orioles signed the phenom to a Major League contract out of the Draft, and he's already exhausted all his options. Now, the two sides need to figure out a way to get him back in the Minors without switching organizations.

"Eventually, you're going to have to sever that existing contract and do a new one," said MacPhail. "Those are all things that create obstacles that [agent Scott Sanderson] and their side was well aware of going into this as we were. We just felt like, 'We're with you and we think this is a good idea. Let's sort of figure out a timetable and let's figure out up front what the obstacles are so we don't get to a certain part of the road and we all go, 'Oh my gosh, we didn't know this.'"

Both Loewen and MacPhail repeatedly referenced Rick Ankiel, who endured a similar odyssey before finding success as an outfielder with the Cardinals. But Loewen, whose pitching career will apparently end with an 8-8 record and a 5.38 ERA, knows that it will be a huge adjustment and has actually said that he always liked hitting more than he did pitching.

"In a perfect world, I would've done both," he said. "But I'm 6-6 and I throw left-handed, so my path was chosen for me. I didn't have a choice. I probably would've done both, and my second choice would probably have been to hit, so I just love to do both. I'm always going to be a pitcher, there's no doubt about that. I love to do it [and] I've been doing it ever since I was nine years old, so it's going to be tough to let it go. But God has a special plan for me and I'm going to be faithful and follow it."

Loewen, who batted .353 in his lone season at Chipola Junior College, said that he knows it will be hard to overcome six years spent without swinging the bat. But he also knows that it's virtually his only choice. And MacPhail said that the Orioles aren't really worried about his trajectory as much as they are allowing him to take advantage of his talent.

"We talked about starting in the Instructional League," he said, "then, as you guys often get tired of me saying, the decisions after that become self-evident after he plays. Maybe he's ready for something very fast and maybe he does something on a slower track and maybe he needs more time. Those things become more evident as we approach them, but there is no sense in speculating now other than that we think the Instructional League is probably the right first step."

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


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PostSubject: Re: Adam Loewen Career Tracker   Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:11 pm

Loewen's transition has few bumps
Former pitcher taking to new life as a position player quite well

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Adam Loewen bolted around the bases, head down and arms pumping while the baseball he hit a few seconds earlier skipped down the right-field line at Dunedin Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Loewen tore around second base for the Blue Jays and pulled up at third, making a triple look like an easy task. In the far corner of the ballpark, though, veteran Matt Stairs -- manning the outfield for Team Canada -- threw his arms up to point out that the ball had slipped through an open gate down by Toronto's clubhouse.

Hands on his hips and catching his breath, Loewen turned around and retreated to second base after the line drive was ruled a ground-rule double in the fourth inning. Either way, it marked the first extra-base hit of the spring for Loewen, who is getting reacquainted with the batter's box after being forced to walk away from a promising pitching career.

It was also a hit that Loewen isn't likely to forget soon.

"That was a lot of fun," said Loewen, who then laughed. "I thought Stairs kicked it under the fence so he didn't have to throw it in."

Sitting in the stands behind home plate was Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who has been impressed with Loewen's showing so far this spring. Toronto wasn't sure what was in store when it signed Loewen to a two-year Minor League contract in October. Loewen presented a project, but one that the organization believes could pay off down the road.

From what Ricciardi has already seen in the early portion of this Spring Training, the general manager feels Loewen has the ability to adjust to being a full-time position player without much of a problem. Loewen has shown good swing mechanics, and it will be more about repetition than trying to correct many flaws in his approach.

That is a positive sign, considering the last time Loewen hit regularly before this year was seven years ago with Chipola Junior College.

"He looks like he hasn't missed a beat," Ricciardi said. "I didn't really know what to expect, but once I saw him take batting practice, you knew he had a pretty good idea of what he was doing. Probably the most impressive thing is he's facing left-handers and stuff, and he doesn't even flinch.

"He's done a great job. He's fortunate. He's gifted. Most guys, when they lose their arm, they can't go do the other thing."

Loewen -- a native of Surrey, British Columbia -- was once a top pitching prospect in the Orioles' system. He joined baseball's professional ranks surrounded by plenty of hype after Baltimore made him the highest-selected Canadian in baseball history (fourth overall in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft). A stress fracture in his left elbow convinced him to walk away from the mound last season, though.

With bats in tow, Loewen took part in the instructional league with the Orioles last fall, and he headed to Hawaii for winter ball shortly after signing with the Jays. From the start of games this spring, Toronto manager Cito Gaston has put Loewen in his lineup, handing him playing time in right field. The consistent playing time has helped Loewen grow more comfortable at the plate.

Of Toronto's six Grapefruit League games, Loewen has appeared in five. Overall, including exhibition games against Team Canada and Team USA this week, Loewen has hit .250 (3-for-12) with two runs, two RBIs and a pair of walks in seven games.

With right fielder Alex Rios playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, Gaston has been able to play Loewen more often. The 24-year-old Loewen has also been taking ground balls at first base, but he said he's less comfortable in the outfield. That being the case, he prefers to stay in right so he can work on improving.

"I've had the luxury of playing every day," Loewen said. "I didn't expect to play this much this early on, so it's been great. It's really helped for me to get back in there if I have a slow day or need to work on something. That really helps me out."

Gaston plans on playing Loewen as much as he can as the spring moves along.

"I like him a lot -- I really do," Gaston said. "He's done really well. He's someone who I think is going to be fine."

It might be easier for the Blue Jays to feel that way in light of how Loewen has looked at the plate. His swing mechanics are ahead of expectations, and Loewen said he's even ahead of where he thought he'd be offensively at this point.

In the batting cage, Loewen said he's been told to continue what he's already been doing.

"I'm just working on repeating what I've got right now," Loewen said. "I feel comfortable with where I'm at. We've really worked on me staying back these last couple weeks, and really that's as simple as it gets right now. There's no big thing that we're trying to tweak or make better right now. It's just staying back and seeing the ball a little bit longer.

"It's been great. They really haven't tried to tinker with anything too much and that just helps how comfortable I feel out there. If I'm trying something new every day, it's not going to work out. They've really shown confidence in me and my swing and my ability, so I think that transfers onto the field."

The feeling within the organization is that it will likely take at least 1,000 professional at-bats before Loewen might be ready to attempt a jump to the big league stage. Ricciardi said Loewen will likely open this season with high Class A Dunedin, and a move up to Double-A New Hampshire could come later in the year.

"I think that's fair to him," Ricciardi said. "He's not ready for Double-A, but this will be a good place for him. It'll be building blocks from there. I think the most important thing is trying to get him 500 at-bats. Wherever we can do that is only going to help his progress."

Loewen isn't worried about where he begins the season

"That's out of my hands," Loewen said. "That's something I learned coming up as a pitcher. I think that's going to help me out, just understanding how they move guys and when they feel they're ready. That doesn't really apply to me. I'm just going to try to get a lot better every day."


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