Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Loewen Strikes out in Bid

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Loewen Strikes out in Bid

Article excerpt

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Piece by piece, hanger by hanger, Adam Loewen emptied the contents of his locker.

He folded a pair of baseball pants. Then he crossed the room, removed four of his bats from a shopping cart and deposited them in a black bag. When the bats did not fit cleanly, he shook the bag, dropping it lightly against the clubhouse floor until its contents spilled into place.

Finally it was time to go. Loewen walked out the clubhouse door, carrying a tiny white tote bag with him. Three small blue gym bags remained behind at the foot of his locker. Four tops - an orange T- shirt, a blue windbreaker, and two jerseys - were still hanging from the inside of his stall.

Two hours later, all evidence of the six weeks Loewen spent here competing for a lefty-hitting outfield job was gone. The bags and bats, the hangers and shirts, heck, even the nameplate ... poof! An upside-down stool sat inside his locker stall as if Loewen had never been here at all.

With opening day less than a week away, the Mets made their final major cuts of spring Thursday afternoon, trimming six names from the camp roster. The casualties: Loewen, catchers Rob Johnson and Lucas May, outfielders Matt den Dekker and Jordany Valdespin, and reliever Garrett Olson.

To the victors go the roster spots. And in this case, barring last-minute signings or injuries between now and opening day, catcher Mike Nickeas and outfielder Mike Baxter have earned two of those prized roster spots.

"Obviously as it gets closer to the wire, you want to be there in the end," Nickeas said. "You want to be with the club, break with the team. There's some anxiety, but overall you're just trying to get better, trying to improve your game."

Nickeas has been on the other side, flipped off a roster at the least convenient of moments. In 2007, Nickeas was in Class AA Binghamton. …

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