The Orioles conducted some offseason housekeeping on Monday when they released former first-round Draft pick Adam Loewen and outrighted five players to Triple-A Norfolk. Loewen, who has retired as a pitcher due to recurring elbow injuries, is attempting to reignite his career as a position player, and he likely will ink a Minor League contract with the team some time soon.
Loewen missed virtually all of the 2007 season with a stress fracture in his left elbow, an injury that took an operation to repair. The southpaw went through all the requisite rehabilitation, but he suffered the same injury last season and was told it would take 18 months to recover from another surgery, a realization that spurred him to try his hand at hitting.
The 24-year-old ended his pitching career with an 8-8 record and a 5.38 ERA in the big leagues, a performance record that obscures his status as the fourth overall selection in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. Loewen, who hit .353 at Chipola Junior College before signing with the Orioles, currently is at Instructional League relearning the art of hitting.
In addition to the Loewen move, Baltimore outrighted pitchers Randor Bierd and Rocky Cherry, infielder Brando Fahey, outfielder Jeff Fiorentino and catcher Omir Santos to Norfolk. Fiorentino was lost on a waiver claim last winter and subsequently returned to the organization via the same process during the season.
Bierd, Baltimore's selection in the Rule 5 Draft last winter, went 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in 29 games with the Orioles. Cherry, who was acquired from the Cubs in the 2007 deadline deal for Steve Trachsel, posted an 0-3 record and a 6.35 ERA for the Orioles last season. Fahey batted .226 as part of Baltimore's volatile shortstop platoon last season.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.