When Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie was asked if he was concerned about giving Loewen a major league deal, he said, "Absolutely. It's not something we considered lightly. Would Van Poppel have been better [without it]? Who knows? We've been able to watch Adam for two years [in high school and junior college]. He's very talented."
ASKING FOR TROUBLE?
Royals closer Mike MacDougal, 26, who opened the season firing 100-mph heaters, was clocked between 91 and 94 mph in a recent outing against the Twins. When asked if Kansas City, which was 27-27 at week's end, could win 81 games this season, an American League advance scout said, "Yeah, if MacDougal doesn't break down before August. Between his [poor] mechanics and overuse, they'd better be careful."
The righthander appeared in 25 of the Royals' first 54 games, converting 12 of 16 save opportunities, but has blown four of his last six chances. In addition to the workload, MacDougal puts added strain on his arm with his herky-jerky delivery.
On May 26 the Expos, already hampered by injuries to starting pitchers Orlando Hernandez and Tony Armas, began a grueling 25-day, 22-game test that takes them from Florida to Philadelphia to San Juan (against Anaheim and Texas) to Seattle to Oakland to Pittsburgh....
The Cardinals expect to get closer Jason Isringhausen (right shoulder surgery) back in about two weeks to help beef up a depleted bullpen. Righthander Cal Eldred, signed last December to a minor league deal on the advice of his buddy, catcher Mike Matheny, is setting up and occasionally closing. " Matheny probably deserves a finder's fee," joked G.M. Walt Jocketty....
Braves rightfielder Gary Sheffield surprised Scott Boras when he dropped the agent before Boras ever negotiated a contract for him. A potential free agent after this season, Sheffield, who was second in the league in hitting (.349) through Sunday, plans to negotiate his own deal.