Loewen called up, hopes third time's a charm

Lefty reliever, onetime outfielder back for another stab at big leagues

Loewen called up, hopes third time's a charm

SAN DIEGO -- The third time feels right for Phillies left-hander Adam Loewen.

He is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2011, when he resurrected his career as an outfielder with the Blue Jays. Before a stress fracture in his left elbow seemingly ended his pitching career, he pitched parts of three seasons for the Orioles from 2006-08.

"To get called up as a hitter was really surreal," Loewen said Friday afternoon at Petco Park. "It didn't sink in for a while. This time I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be. This is what I was always supposed to be."

The Phillies promoted Loewen from Triple-A Lehigh Valley because they need another left-hander in the bullpen after trading Jake Diekman to the Rangers. Loewen, 31, went 1-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 40 appearances with the IronPigs.

His first appearance for the Phillies will be his first time on the mound in a big league game since July 6, 2008.

"I didn't have any expectations of being called up," Loewen said. "I just knew that if I pitched well for long enough that I'd be a name that they would consider. Really I wasn't going out there every day thinking, 'Oh, this might be the day.' I was taking care of business out there and that was it."

Loewen, whom the Orioles selected with the fourth pick in the 2002 Draft, signed as a Minor League free agent with the Phillies in April 2014. His agent had told teams he planned to try pitching again, but only a few teams showed up to watch him throw. A short time later he got a call from Phillies president Pat Gillick, who gave Loewen a tour of Safeco Field as a 17-year-old.

"He's got an outstanding memory," Loewen said of Gillick. "I'm surprised he even remembered who I was."

Gillick is famous for his recall. Loewen said in that telephone conversation Gillick remembered the names of his parents, brother and sister.

"I didn't have a job and I didn't want to stop playing," Loewen said about his desire to try pitching again. "I had five years to allow my arm to rest so I was curious how it felt. In Spring Training '14 I started throwing off a mound and threw for some teams. A lot of them didn't go very well. But then I threw for the Phillies and it went really well that day.

"It's been a roller coaster of emotions from year to year. One day you think you're in it and the next day you're out. And then you're back in. But I've been really blessed to have a third opportunity. I just feel lucky. I feel lucky to be here."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.