MLB

Former pitcher Loewen returns to majors as hitter

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TORONTO (AP)

Three years after his pitching career was ended by stress fractures in his elbow, Adam Loewen is back in the major leagues. Only this time, he's playing the field and swinging a bat.

Loewen made his debut as a position player Wednesday, starting in right field for the Blue Jays against Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Baltimore's first-round draft pick in 2003, Loewen went 8-8 with a 5.38 ERA in 35 career games for the Orioles. His final appearance on the mound was a one-inning relief stint against Texas on July 6, 2008.

The left-handed Loewen was forced out of the game after experiencing pain in his surgically repaired elbow and never pitched again.

Instead, he signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays to play first base and the outfield, starting his comeback with Class A Dunedin in 2009.

Loewen joined the Blue Jays as a September call-up after finishing the season with Triple-A Las Vegas with a .306 average, 17 homers and 86 RBIs.

His story is similar to that of Washington's Rick Ankiel, whose career as a pitcher was cut short by control issues. Ankiel became an outfielder and made it back to the majors, hitting 25 home runs for St. Louis in 2008.

Loewen said he has not spoken with Ankiel but models his game on the Nationals outfielder.

Loewen's return comes one day after Blue Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan completed a three-year comeback after undergoing two shoulder surgeries. McGowan pitched four innings Tuesday, his first major league game since July 8, 2008.

Tagged: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Nationals, Tim Wakefield, Rick Ankiel, Adam Loewen

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