Saturday, March 10, 2012
“I think it’s Jose Cruz Jr.’s,” Loewen said. “He doesn’t even play anymore.”
Finding this 34-inch piece of lumber was one of the most difficult elements of his conversion from pitcher to hitter. Loewen made 29 starts during his three seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, going 8-8 with a 5.38 ERA.
But now he’s in Mets camp, bidding for the team’s fifth outfielder spot. The Mets are taking a close look. Loewen has played in five of the team’s first seven games and the early returns look good. He is hitting .333 after striking out in his only plate appearance during Saturday’s 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium.
“Just to be here is a blessing and a privilege, so I don’t put a lot of pressure on any one at-bat,” Loewen said. “There’s lots of time to get things done and show what kind of player I am.”
Pitching coach Dan Warthen was asked why so few pitchers try following Loewen’s path, attempting the leap from mound to plate.