Adam Loewen was a promising pitching prospect who has to end his pitching career at the age of 24 due to a stress fracture in his left elbow ... a recurring injury that has hampered Loewen's progress before.
But notice I said "pitching career" and not "baseball career". Because Rick Ankiel has given all of those two-way players in college hope that if something doesn't work out on the mound, whether it be because of injury or extreme wildness, that it is possible to return to the majors as an outfielder. And that's what Loewen wants to do.
"I won't have to have surgery. If I did choose the other road with pitching, it would be a long road with no clear ending," Loewen said Saturday. "It's not a simple decision, but it's right there in front of me." (...)
"The good news is that we have a player that is very much a hitting prospect as well," Orioles president Andy MacPhail said. "And he has assured me he can still hit and wants to hit. So, the club is prepared to embark on that path with him. Once the season is over, we will start career No. 2 for Adam Loewen."
So what are Loewen's hitting credentials? Find out after the jump.
Before being drafted by the Orioles, Loewen pitched and played first base for Chipola Junior College in Florida, where he batted .353 with a homer and 38 RBIs in 45 games. (...)
"It's been five or six years since I've hit competitively in college, where I did hit," Loewen said. "It's going to take time and it's going to be a real challenge. But Rick Ankiel did it, so I have someone before me that I can relate to."
Side note: Loewen was a highly touted prospect to the point that Omar Minaya wanted the Orioles to throw him in to the Kris Benson for Jorge Julio deal before the '06 season. But the Orioles thought highly enough of him to keep him. Instead, the Mets got John Maine. Funny the way things like that work out.
But hopefully, Loewen can make the switch and come back to the majors. It's very possible, because the sad part is that Loewen may already be the one of the best first base prospects in the Orioles system.