- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2003

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed 2002 first-round pick Adam Loewen late Monday night, moments before they would have lost him.

Baltimore cut a deal with the 19-year-old left-hander at 11:55 p.m. If Loewen had not signed by midnight, he would have gone back into the June3 draft, and the Orioles would have received a supplemental-round pick — No.37 overall — in compensation.

The late-night negotiations suddenly became fruitful when the Orioles offered a five-year major league contract.

“I think it was really the turning point,” Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan said.

Said Loewen: “That was the part I liked best.” He added that the package was worth $4million, which would make it the largest contract the Orioles have given a draft pick.

“I was hoping it would get done from the get-go,” Loewen said. “Finally in the last half-hour, we got it done.”

The signing bonus was believed to be around $3million.

Loewen became the highest Canadian ever drafted when he was chosen fourth overall last June. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound pitcher is a native of Surrey, British Columbia. He played this spring at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, going 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA.

Last year Loewen refused to sign a minor league deal for less than $3.9million, and the Orioles said they would not offer more than $2.5million. Previously, Beau Hale had received the club’s largest signing bonus in 2000, when the right-hander and first-round pick — 14th overall — from the University of Texas signed for $2.25million.

Loewen will train at the Orioles’ spring training complex in Florida before likely joining Baltimore’s Class A short-season affiliate in Aberdeen, Md.

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