It's a shame to have to close the door on a pitcher's career at the age of 24, but that's the story for Adam Loewen. I can't begin to imagine how someone - even a finely-conditioned athlete - recovers from two elbow fractures in a little over a year. I guess Adam can't fathom it either, because he's chosen to call it quits as a pitcher. Once the most highly touted pitching prospect in baseball, his final pitching stat line is 8-8 with a 5.38 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP in 35 games. But there's still some hope, no matter how faint, for Loewen.
Undoubtedly encouraged by the example of Cardinals pitcher-turned-slugging outfielder Rick Ankiel, the young Canadian lefty has announced that he will attempt to re-imagine himself as an outfielder/first baseman. If his amateur track record and the endorsement of O's hitting coach Terry Crowley) are to be believed, Adam's got a fair shot at making it work. It would certainly make one hell of a feel-good story, and all of Baltimore will be rooting for him. After all, we've had a lot of practice when it comes to pulling for underdogs. It's a funny sort of thing to say about a former fourth-overall draft pick, but any future contribution that Adam Loewen might make to the Orioles has to be considered a bonus, a pleasant surprise.
It seems like a pipe dream right now, but it would be funny if, after years of chasing the Delgados and Konerkos and Teixeiras of the world, the answer to our need for a powerful first baseman came from a guy who we were once counting on to anchor our starting rotation. Never say never.