Among 8 cut, Loewen leaves rather bruised

Orioles notebook

4th overall pick in 2002 had 81.00 ERA, `fallback'

Baseball

March 18, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Of the eight players who were cut yesterday from the Orioles' spring training roster, pitcher Adam Loewen was the first to leave the complex.

With his gear crammed into the trunk of his BMW, Loewen got an early start on the three-hour drive to the team's minor league complex in Sarasota. He dragged an 81.00 ERA that must have made the trip seem a little longer.

The Orioles optioned Loewen to Single-A Delmarva, pitchers Daniel Cabrera and Ryan Hannaman to Single-A Frederick and infielders Jose Morban and Walter Young to Double-A Bowie. They also reassigned catcher Raul Casanova, infielder Napoleon Calzado and outfielder Pedro Swann - all non-roster invitees - to the minor league camp.

Loewen, the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft, didn't retire the last seven batters he faced over two appearances. He walked six and hit one. Mike Flanagan, vice president of baseball operations, said results didn't hasten Loewen's departure.

"Friday at the minor league camp is when these guys can go over there and hop into game situations," Flanagan said. "If he had struck out everybody he faced, he would be going over there today. We're getting to the point in spring training where pitchers are stretching out and innings are harder and harder to come by. A guy like Adam Loewen needs to go over there and get ready for the season.

"When you're a young man like Adam, you come into camp thinking, `If I strike out everybody in camp, I can make this club.' But it's a different playing field than he's used to, when if you pitched well you always made the club. I think once he realized that he wasn't going to make it, he had this little fallback. Every young pitcher has to go through this. This was a great educational process for him."

Morban stayed in the 25-man roster last season as a Rule 5 pick, but the Orioles had the freedom to reassign him this spring.

"They sent me down, I'll work hard and I'll come back later this season," he said. "I don't worry because I know my situation."

Morban, whose arrival in camp was delayed by visa problems, played third base, second and shortstop during the winter league season. Flanagan said Morban probably will start out as a shortstop at Bowie despite the Orioles' signing Miguel Tejada to a six-year deal this winter.

"We certainly value him as a potential major league shortstop," Flanagan said. "If we were short on catching, we wouldn't consider making him a catcher. If his talent is at shortstop, that's where he'll play."

Yesterday's moves leave the Orioles with 49 players in camp.

Palmer apologizes

Reluctant to speak with reporters again about his recent comments on steroids in baseball, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer apologized yesterday to former outfielder Brady Anderson.

Palmer created a stir when he said Anderson's 50-homer season in 1996 raised suspicions about steroid use. His remarks were aired Monday on 98 ROCK (WIYY-FM).

"The only thing I'd say is an apology to Brady," Palmer said. "It was never about Brady. The quote got taken out of context. It was more about what's going on in baseball with drug testing. I've got too much respect to indict anybody."

Bautista en route

The paperwork on pitcher Denny Bautista's visa finally has cleared, and the right-hander is expected to arrive in camp within the next few days.

Bautista, acquired from the Florida Marlins in the Jeff Conine trade, will be the last player to report. He won't stay for long. "We're going to take a look at him and see where he's positioned at the moment," Flanagan said. "But with the minor leagues getting ready to roll and the innings becoming harder to come by, we'd rather get him in a more formal setting.

"Would we have liked to have him here earlier? Sure. But he was probably destined for the Double-A level before the script was written."

Yankee bonding

Manager Lee Mazzilli spent part of the Orioles' batting practice chatting with Houston Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte, no doubt reminiscing about their days together in New York.

"It was good to see him," Mazzilli said. "He's a good man and I'm happy for him."

Pettitte is 20-4 with a 3.64 ERA lifetime against the Orioles - including 6-0 last season. No wonder they're relieved that he's out of the league, and reunited with pitcher Roger Clemens.

"I think he'll do well," Mazzilli said. "He's not just a quality pitcher, he's a quality guy."

Sun staff writer Joe Christensen contributed to this article.

Exhibitions

Yesterday's results

Orioles 3, Houston 2 Boston 3, Cleveland 1 Toronto 7, Tampa Bay 4 Minnesota 6, Florida (ss) 5 Pittsburgh (ss) 4, Philadelphia 3 Detroit 9, New York (NL) 1 St. Louis 6, Los Angeles (ss) 5 Anaheim 5, Colorado 2 Texas 6, Chicago (NL) 1 Oakland 10, Chicago (AL) 3 Kansas City 6, Milwaukee 5 San Francisco 7, San Diego 4 Florida (ss) 4, Los Angeles (ss) 0 Pittsburgh (ss) 11, Cincinnati (ss) 1 New York (AL) 7, Cincinnati (ss) 3 Montreal 4, Atlanta 3

Today's games

In Florida

Orioles vs. Minnesota at Fort Myers, 1:05 Cincinnati vs. Toronto at Dunedin, 1:05 Cleveland vs. Los Angeles at Vero Beach, 1:05 St. Louis (ss) vs. Houston at Kissimmee, 1:05 Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia at Clearwater, 1:05 Montreal (ss) vs. St. Louis (ss) at Jupiter, 1:05 Atlanta vs. New York (NL) at Port St. Lucie, 1:10 Montreal (ss) vs. Detroit at Lakeland, 6:05

In Arizona

Anaheim vs. Chicago (NL) at Mesa, 3:05 Milwaukee vs. Seattle at Peoria, 3:05 Oakland vs. Kansas City at Surprise, 3:05 San Francisco vs. Arizona at Tucson, 3:05

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