This is how team president Andy MacPhail delivered the news to us concerning Adam Loewen – to a room full of reporters who were braced for it, but still felt its impact:
“Most of you know, are well aware, of Adam's circumstance and we haven't really given you the news yet until we could go through all the medical checkpoints that we felt we had to touch before we got here, but the news isn't really, on some levels, very good at all. Adam has re-suffered a bone fracture in his elbow to the extent that if he were to pitch again, it's going to be a year and a half before he could have any reasonable expectation about getting on the mound again. Now, obviously, Adam's here to speak for himself, but he's indicated to us that he really has zero interest in going down that path again, particularly when there's really nothing assured to him, so that is the very bad news.
“The good news is that we have a player here that, as an amateur, is very much a hitting prospect as well, and he has assured me that he can still hit and wants to hit, so the club is prepared to embark on that path with him. And once this season is over, we will start career No. 2 Adam Loewen, which will be in the outfield somewhere in the Baltimore Orioles’ system, provided we can sort through a number of obstacles and technicalities that we have to agree upon to sort of get this career re-started again in the outfield.
“I wish there was someone else up here delivering the bad portion of this news, but we are very fortunate that, in this case, it's not that hard of a decision, because based on the news that we're getting from the medical people, it's not something that you're going to be wondering that you took the right path or not. I think its pretty clear, based on the future that they described, that this is the right course and we're extraordinarily fortunate where we have an athlete that is capable of pursuing a career as a position player, which is not unprecedented in our game that we would have somebody come off the mound and have a career that could potentially be productive as a position player.”
Loewen plans on contacting Rick Ankiel, who went from pitcher to productive outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals. Of course, Ankiel had plenty of chances to bat while also pitching in the National League. Loewen knows he’ll be rusty and this transformation is going to take time.
Here’s a portion of Loewen’s interview:
“They believe that the only reason that my arm feels the way it does is strictly from throwing off the mound at a high intensity. So if I was playing first base or outfield or just having time in between throws, not throwing 90-93 off a mound, then my arm's going to be fine, it's not going to bother me swinging the bat and I won't have to have surgery. If I did choose the other path of pitching, it would be a long road with no clear ending. This is not a simple decision, but it's right there in front of me and it was easy to make for me.
“It was devastating news, but I've always had a backup plan, so I'm sure I didn't take it as hard as anybody else would. And as much as I love pitching and love playing for the Orioles, I still have a chance to do that. It's going to be a long and tough road, but I did it one time. Hopefully, I can do it again. I know what to expect and I think I'm mature enough where I can do this and I'm still young enough to where I can do this.”
Asked if he’ll be rusty, Loewen said, “Absolutely. It's been six years, probably, five or six years since I've hit competitively in college where I did hit. It's going to take time, it's going to be a real challenge, but Rick Ankiel did it, so at least I have somebody before me that did it that I can relate to.”
Asked if he wished that he could have been a two-way player after being drafted, Loewen said, “In a perfect world, I would have done both, for sure, but I'm 6-6 and I throw left handed, so it was kind of, my path was chosen for me. I didn't have a choice. I probably would have done both, and my second choice would probably have been to hit, so I just love to do both. I'm always going to be a pitcher, there's no doubt about that. I love to do it, I've been doing it ever since I was 9 years old, so it's going to be tough to let it go. But God has a special plan for me and I'm going to be faithful and follow it.”
And more from Loewen: “I don’t feel any pain when I’m just sitting here, but I anticipate some pain if I picked up a bat right now. It’s only been two weeks since I felt what I did on the mound. I just don’t anticipate that feeling now. The goal right now is instructional league. I think it would be a smart thing to make sure this time that I will be ready. I’m so sick of being a Band-Aid, going on the DL and that kind of stuff. It’s challenging and I don’t want to do it anymore. I think we’re going to take the conservative road and just shoot for the instructional league.”