* Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) had made it all the way back to the majors with a strong bat ... and speed, which has Adam Stern (London, Ont.) teasing. Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
While Adam Loewen was on the mound pitching 3 2/3 scoreless against Team USA in 2006 in the World Baseball Classic at Chase Field in Phoenix, Adam Stern was in centre.
Stern went 3-for-4, including an inside-the-park homer, a triple and four RBIs.
“Adam Loewen making it all the way back as a hitter is impressive, coming back and playing centre is impressive, but pinch running? I didn’t know he’d improved his speed,” said Stern (London, Ont.) in his first year of retirement from the Milwaukee Brewers. “I had to double check when I saw it, I know if I was bunting, I wouldn’t want him getting thrown out at third.”
Countered Loewen on the subject of speed “One winter we trained together with Peter Twist (Vancouver Canucks sports conditioning trainer) I beat him in a lot of the speed drills.”
Stern coached at the recent Mizuno camp for the best 15 and 16-year-old from across the country.
Said Stern: “Seriously, it’s good to see what Alex Anthopoulos and Andrew Tinnish are doing. There’s was a lot of energy when we were at the Rogers Centre watching Brett Lawrie and Adam.”
Gone: At triple-A Las Vegas, Adam Loewen made 17 home-run trots, 34 in all, since showing up in Dunedin in the spring of 2009 with a bat. Surely his homer against the Baltimore Orioles was different?
“I was thankful it went out after seeing the centre fielder (Matt Angle) catch J.P. Arencibia’s against the fence before me,” Loewen said.
Is the transition from pitcher to hitter now complete? “I don’t think it’s complete until I stick with the team, you have to prove yourself every day. I don’t think this proves a thing.”
Loewen said the success to date would not be possible without the help of:
* Vegas hitting coach Chad Mottola (“We didn’t change much this year, he talks to me one way, to Cooper another, he gets his point across.”)
* Justin Mayshore, hitting coach at double-A New Hampshire (“We live close to each other in Arizona, he’s got bad knees plus a sore arm and every day this winter he threw me an hour’s worth of batting practice.”)
* Greg Hamilton, Loewen’s coach with the National Junior Team (“he was the first person I called when I considered making the change.”).
Loewen, drafted from Dennis Springenatic’s Whalley Chiefs, spoke to Hamilton’s Mizuno campers on the weekend, as the best 15-and 16-year-olds from across Canada gathered at the Rogers Centre.
Canuck look: When Loewen made Jays debut he became the 26th Canadian to appear in the majors this season ... In other Canadian news ... Etobicoke’s Joey Votto hitting .317 is trying to become the first Reds players since Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi to bat .320 or better in three consecutive seasons; Lombardi did it for four straight (1935-38) ... The cycle by C George Kottaras (Markham, Ont.) of the Milwaukee Brewers was the first of the season and came 399 days after Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. Since 1920, the longest period between cycles was 1,027 days between that of Don Mueller in 1954 and Lee Walls in 1957 ... The Red Sox used a left-handed starter in three straight games -- Jon Lester, Andrew Miller and Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.) for the first time since 1995. the trio of Sox southpaws that year was Vaughn Eshelman, Zane Smith and Rheal Cormier (Moncton, N.B.).
More over: Move over Brett Lawrie, the true Canadian hero is here. Loewen made his major-league debut in right field against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Loewen worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings as Canada scored an upset win over Team USA 8-6 in the inaugural World baseball Classic before 16,993 at Chase Field in Phoenix. “The thing I remember,” said Red Sox left Eric Bedard (Navan, Ont.), who started the opener against South Africa, “was the intensity. In march we’re used to spring games, that game had the intensity of the playoffs.” Loewen faced a USA lineup managed by Buck Martinez dotted with future hall of Famers (four? five?). Loewen allowed three hits and walked three, facing Michael Young, Derek Jeter, Chase Utley, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Vernon Wells and Jason Varitek. he left with a 5-0 lead in Canada’s greatest international win. Loewen was 1,158 days between major-league games -- since July 6, 2008, pitching a scoreless inning for the O’s in an 11-10 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Vote early and often for Tom and Jerry: Fans can vote online for the 2012 Ford C. Frick award (facebook.com/baseballhall) for broadcasting excellence. The top three fan selections appear on the final 10-name ballot for the award, which is selected by a 20-member electorate. Both the late Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth are on the ballot ... Quebecor’s new TVA Sports, which launches this fall, will show 60 Jays in French next season with Roger Brulotte and Jacques Doucet together in the booth as they were brodcasting Montreal Expos games.