Ex-pitcher Adam Loewen makes it back to majors as outfielder

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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.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.