Loewen Is Released by O's; Could Be Re-Signed

By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Baltimore Orioles released former first-round draft pick Adam Loewen yesterday, though the club hopes to re-sign him to a minor league contract once he clears waivers.

The move is a formality as Loewen, trying to transition from a pitcher into a position player, unlikely will be claimed by another team within the two-day window.

"We're not anticipating any issues," team president Andy MacPhail said.

Because Loewen signed a major league deal after Orioles drafted him in 2002, he was technically out of options, preventing the Orioles from simply sending him to the minor leagues.

According to sources in the organization, the move saves the team roughly $700,000, which would have been Loewen's salary next season.

Recurring elbow injuries that cut his last two seasons short forced Loewen, 24, to give up on pitching. Instead, he will attempt to turn himself into a left-handed-hitting first baseman-outfielder, which would replicate the feat pulled off by St. Louis's Rick Ankiel.

Last month, Loewen, whose last regular hitting experience came as a junior college player, participated in the fall instruction league as a position player for the Orioles.

Baltimore also outrighted five players to Class AAA Norfolk: relief pitchers Randor Bierd and Rocky Cherry, infielder Brandon Fahey, outfielder Jeff Fiorentino and catcher Omir Santos.

MacPhail said the moves opened slots on the team's 40-man roster, which will be filled by five pitchers coming off the 60-day disabled list, relievers Jim Hoey, Matt Albers, Danys Báez and Chris Ray, and left-handed starter Troy Patton.

Meanwhile, the Orioles' search for a new spring training home has led to Sarasota County (Fla.).

Sarasota County deputy administrator David Bullock said the Orioles have expressed interest in the area. Sarasota already hosts the team's minor league complex, though Fort Lauderdale serves as the Orioles' spring training home.

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