Former Orioles first-round pick Adam Loewen is back in the majors three years and a couple of months after giving up on pitching due to a series of arm problems. The Blue Jays called him up and will use him as a reserve outfielder for the rest of the season.
The 27-year-old Loewen has been with the Blue Jays since the Orioles released him following the 2008 season. Baltimore hoped to re-sign him then — he was released because he was on the 40-man roster yet had no hope of contributing in the short term — but he picked a return to his native Canada. He hit .236/.340/.355 with four homers for Single-A Dunedin in his first full season as an outfielder in 2009, .246/.351/.412 with 13 homers in Double-A in 2010 and .306/.377/.508 with 17 homers in Triple-A this year.
The big caveat there is that his Triple-A home games were in Las Vegas, a fabulous place for hitters. He hit .328/.414/.559 with 10 homers at home, compared to .284/.339/.458 in the rest of the PCL’s mostly hitter friendly ballparks. Also, he struck out 136 times in his 520 at-bats.
There is some hope for Loewen, though he doesn’t currently project as a major league regular. If he takes another step forward next year like he has the past two, he has a chance of making it as a platoon outfielder. The Jays will give him a few starts down the stretch to see if he’ll be worth keeping on the 40-man this winter. That he is out of options complicates things; he’ll have to clear waivers if he can’t make the team out of spring training next year.