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.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.