Adam Loewen will try to follow in Rick Ankiel’s footsteps.
Rather then undergo a second Tommy John surgery and the subsequent year of rehab, Loewen, the Orioles top prospect as recently as 2006, has decided to become an outfielder.
The Baltimore Sun first reported the news on Saturday. Loewen told the Sun that he is aware that he has a lot of work to do to make it back to the big leagues as an outfielder, but with no certainty that his arm would ever be able to stay healthy pitching, it seems like the best option.
"It’s been six years, probably, five or six years since I’ve hit competitively in college," said Loewen, who is hoping to talk to Ankiel to get some advice. "It’s going to take time, it’s going to be a real challenge, but Rick Ankiel did it so at least I have somebody before me that did it that I can relate to."
The fourth overall pick of the 2002 draft out of Chipola (Fla.) JC, Loewen rose quickly through the minor leagues, making it to the majors in just his third full professional season at the age of 22 in 2006.
Loewen went 6-6, 5.37 in 112 innings for Baltimore in his rookie year in 2006, but lasted only six starts into the 2007 season before needing to be shut down for elbow surgery. Loewen was ready for opening day this year, but again lasted only four starts before being sent back to the DL with elbow soreness. The lefthander was shut down for two months and went through a minor league rehab assignment before making one final return to Baltimore, this time as a reliever. But again, Loewen could make only three appearances out of the Orioles pen before reinjuring the elbow. He last pitched on July 6, when he pitched a scoreless inning of relief against Texas.
Loewen’s pitching career ends with a 8-8, 5.38 record in 164 career big league innings, and a career 15-17, 3.61 mark in the minor leagues. He hasn’t faced live pitching since his college days, but he did hit .353 in his last season with Chipola in 2003. Jim Callis reprinted our scouting report on Loewen as a high school hitter in this week’s Ask BA.