The Blue Jays come into Baltimore this weekend for the start of a three-game set, and eventually down the road, there might be a former Oriole prospect making his way into Camden Yards-a place he once called his home ballpark.
But if he does, Adam Loewen will be coming in under much different circumstances than the last time he suited up for the Orioles.
Loewen-a 2002 first-round pitching prospect of the Orioles, is hard at work at the Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, in trying to re-invent himself as an outfielder after his pitching career in Baltimore ended after he was found to have bone chips and a stress fracture in his throwing elbow.
Loewen joined “The Afternoon Drive” with Glenn Clark this week to discuss his journey, his time in Baltimore, and how much different it is lining up in right field as opposed to stepping up on the pitcher’s mound.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Loewen said. “I guess this is the best way. I feel like I’m right there knocking on the door, ready to go, so hopefully I keep going.”
Loewen spent three seasons in Baltimore, but only started the equivalent of one season in an Oriole uniform. It was injuries that derailed Loewen’s career, and now he finds himself on the way back.
He went 8-8 with a 5.38 ERA in 35 games. In his only “full” season with the Birds, he pitched in 22 games and finished 6-6 with a 5.37 ERA in 112 innings of work.
But he’s had quite the turnaround as a hitter in 2011.
Loewen is currently hitting .322 with 15 HRs, 74 RBIs and 8 SB for the 51s. He is currently on pace toward eventually making the big-league club (maybe in September), but he said the transition took time and he had to go through his growing pains.
He told Clark that he’s blessed that the Blue Jays allowed him time to adapt to his new position.
“They told me,” Loewen said, ” that they were going to give me two years to show what I could do, and they told me they were going to give me 500 at-bats a year, and that they were going to stick with me all the way through it.”
Loewen said that patience and faith in him meant all the difference in the world to him.
“That was really appealing to me,” Loewen said. “But it was never like the last year depended upon the performance of the previous year. They weren’t going to sign me back if they didn’t think I had a chance this year.”
Once he makes the roster and gets back to the big league club, he hopes to be another success story like Rick Ankiel, the former Cardinals pitcher who successfully made the transition to big-league hitter.
“It always pissed me off that he was doing it,” Ankiel said, “and I wasn’t. But yeah, he did it, and that kind of opened my eyes a little bit.”
And nothing would be better for the former Canadian to make it for the “hometown” team in Toronto.
“It would mean a lot,” Loewen said. “I grew up watching the Blue Jays. I would race home every day to watch the game. I would get home at three or four from school, and with the time difference, the game would be on. I was a huge fan growing up, and to make it back for them, it would be very emotional for me with all that I’ve been through-the ups and the downs.”
WNST thanks Adam Loewen for joining us and wishes him all the best in his journey back to the big leagues-even if it’s in Toronto! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!