This flew under the radar a bit with the news that Chase Utley is coming off the disabled list tomorrow, but the Phillies also announced this afternoon that Adam Loewen is headed back to the majors as a pitcher.
Loewen began his career as a pitcher with the Orioles, posting a 5.38 ERA over 29 starts and six relief appearances from 2006-2008 before suffering a pair of stress fractures in his throwing elbow. He made the conversion to position player from there and appeared in 14 games as an outfielder with the Blue Jays in 2011 while batting .188 (6-for-32) with one home run and four RBI. After bouncing around the minors for a couple of years, he decided to make the move back to the mound late last season. Now 31 years old, he has posted a 2.15 ERA with a 60/32 K/BB ratio over 46 relief innings in Triple-A this year while notching 10 saves.
Assuming Loewen ends up pitching in a game, he will have gone seven years between appearances. He’s quite an interesting story to follow.
Freddie Freeman‘s elbow began barking in the second half of the season and he was a shadow of himself in the month of September. The Braves rested him for half a minute in the season’s final week but he still played 158 games in 2019. They said he was good to go for the NLDS but he was clearly limited, going 4-for-22 in the Braves’ series loss to the Cardinals.
Today the Braves announced that Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The team said today that the procedure involved the removal of three fragmented loose bodies and the cleaning up of multiple bone spur formations.
It’s not clear if more rest down the stretch would’ve made a difference for him — and it’s not clear that the Braves had options at first base for the postseason that were substantially better than even a limited Freeman — but it’s clear that not having Freeman feeling like himself in the heart of the order was a problem.
Freeman is expected to be good-to-go for spring training.