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Keys' Loewen shows he's in control


Since pitching in the Futures Game, Frederick left-hander Adam Loewen has been outstanding for the Keys.

Loewen, the Orioles' No. 1 pick in the 2002 draft and the fourth overall, went 3-1 in July lowering his ERA to 3.94 and improving his record to 5-7.

Control problems had caused his ineffectiveness.

"Adam's composure and self-control have really improved," said David Stockstill, the Orioles' director of minor league operations.

"He had a tendency to get very frustrated with his control and it would only make things worse, but Scotty McGregor [former Oriole who is the Keys pitching coach] has been working with him on his balance and pitching through his emotions."

Loewen's lone loss in July came on Friday night at Salem, 3-1.

In 24 innings last month, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Loewen gave up 22 hits, four runs, struck out 24 and walked only nine.

Loewen appears to be over the shoulder problems he had at the end of 2002. Surgery was not required, but after a brief stint at Aberdeen in 2003, Loewen was shut down to rest his arm.

A throwing program got him ready for 2004 and he went 4-7 at Delmarva and Frederick in 2004 in 93 innings.

"If he keeps improving, and he has come along better than we had hoped, things could get real interesting," said Stockstill of Loewen's big league chances.

Triple-A Ottawa

Right-handers Tony Fiore (7-3, 3.63 ERA) and Dave Borkowski (7-7, 4.28 ERA) continue to pitch well for the Lynx while John Maine (6-9, 4.73) is still looking for his first win since June 16.

Bernie Castro is the International League's fourth-leading hitter at .320 and is second in hits.

Alejandro Freire (.286, 18 homers, 65 RBIs) and Walter Young (.283, 12 HRs, 55 RBIs) continue to provide the power. Outfielder Tim Raines, Jr., who is batting only .241, leads the Lynx in doubles (23) followed by Young's 22. Raines has 16 stolen bases trailing Castro's 24.

Double-A Bowie

After making his best start on Tuesday since returning to Bowie after a stint with the Orioles, Hayden Penn struggled in Harrisburg, Pa., yesterday.

Penn allowed six hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 10-0 loss to the Senators to fall to 4-5 with a 4.60 ERA. In his previous start, Penn worked 6 1/3 innings allowing eight hits and giving up only two runs in a 10-2 rout of Reading.

Shortstop Brandon Fahey continued his hot second-half hitting with four hits and four RBIs in the Baysox's 10-7 win over the Senators. Fahey is batting .279 for the Baysox with 40 runs and 34 RBIs.

Single-A Frederick

James Johnson, who has been the Keys' most effective pitcher, had a bad outing on Saturday in a 6-2 loss at Salem in which he gave up nine hits and five earned runs in five innings.

The right-hander fell to 9-6, but leads the Carolina League in strikeouts (124), innings pitched (119 1/3 ) and games started and is fourth in ERA (3.39).

The Keys have three hitters - Mario Delgado (.318, third), Nick Markakis (.300, 10th) and Nate Spears (.299) in the league's top 11.

Single-A Delmarva

Winning two in a row this weekend, the first-place Shorebirds increased their South Atlantic Northern Division lead to 3 1/2 games over the Hickory Crawdads through Saturday.

Jason Fransz climbed to .308 and lifted his team leading totals in homers (15), RBIs (72) and doubles (26).

Luis Ramirez, who leads the league in innings (125 1/3 ) and strikeouts (117), improved to 8-5 with a 2.51 ERA with a two-hitter, seven strikeouts in seven innings of Saturday's 3-1 win at Lake County.

Single-A Aberdeen

Starting as a reliever because he needed to get innings, Garrett Olson, the Orioles' first-round sandwich pick, had two five-inning starts this week.

In his 10 innings, Olson was 1-0 with a 5-1 win on Saturday over New Jersey and a no decision in a 3-1 win over Oneonta on Tuesday. Olson now has 23 strikeouts in 23 innings and is 1-1 with a 1.57 ERA.

Radhames Liz (4-3) continues to lead Aberdeen and the New York-Penn League in ERA (1.10) and strikeouts (62 in 41 innings).

Rookie-level Bluefield

McDonogh's Brandon Erbe, the Orioles' third-round pick, earned his first professional win last week and is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 10 innings.

Orioles farm report

Three up

Baysox reliever Chris Piersoll has five wins (5-0) and a save while allowing only nine hits in his past 19 1/3 innings covering nine appearances.

Nick Markakis was 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs Thursday in the Keys' 6-5 win at Salem and has lifted his average to .300 through Saturday.

The Lynx's Tony Fiore (7-3, 3.63 ERA) had a four-hitter to shut out Louisville, 4-0, on Saturday to go 3-1 in July.

Three down

Catcher Brandon Snyder, the Orioles' No. 1 draft pick in June, has seen his batting average drop from .313 to .234 by going 5-for-32.

Ottawa (54-54) is 5-6 over its past 10 games, 25-31 on the road and seven games behind Buffalo in the International League North Division.

With no .300 hitters, the Baysox's leading hitter is Peter Bergeron at .291 (78-for-268), which ranks 14th in the Eastern League.

On deck

Join Keyote and his mascot friends in Frederick tomorrow night for his 13th birthday party, an all-you-can-eat pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks, and an inflatable bat for $17 per person.

Maryland spotlight

Jason Jones

Position: Right-handed pitcher

Size: 6 feet 5, 225 pounds

Age: 22

Hometown: Pasadena

High school: Arlington Baptist

College: Liberty

Pro team: Tampa Yankees in the Single-A Florida State League.

Drafted: 2004, fourth round by the New York Yankees.

Statistics: 5-8, 4.19 ERA, 105 1/3 innings, 122 hits, 12 walks and 58 strikeouts in 18 starts.

Skinny: Unheralded in high school while playing in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference, Jones was drafted after his junior year at Liberty. The Yankees like his size and control.

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