A frightening hunting accident derailed Carlton Loewer’s career more than three years ago. He is thrilled that he has been able to make it all the way back.
In January 2000, Loewer fell out of a deer blind in Louisiana, breaking his lower left leg and severely dislocating his ankle. While recovering, he developed shoulder problems that required season-ending surgery in July 2000.
He made just two appearances in 2001, then sat out all of last season. The Padres gave him one last chance this past December, signing him to a minor league deal.
Finally healthy enough to be part of the rotation, Loewer has made four starts this season. On Monday, he pitched five innings, giving up one run and five hits in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It was his first victory since May 4, 1999, with the Philadelphia Phillies, when he threw a five-hitter against the Padres for his first career shutout.
“It feels good to be back, and I just want to stay back,” the 29-year-old right-hander said. “I want to stay here. I can’t describe the feeling because it feels great.”
San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said Loewer’s comeback has been inspirational.
“It goes back to never give up, never quit,” Bochy said. “He didn’t. The odds were against him coming back, but he’s put in a lot of work.”
Loewer will now be looking to help the Padres win for just the second time in five games. San Diego is 8-31 in its last 39 games and has the worst record in the NL.
In Friday’s series opener, with the scored tied at five in the top of the 11th, Chris Gomez hit a two-out, two-run double to give Minnesota a 7-5 win. The Twins have won two straight after losing five of six.
STANDINGS: Twins - 1st place, AL Central. Padres - 5th place, 20 GB, NL West.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Johan Santana (2-1, 2.65 ERA). Santana, who has appeared out of the bullpen 19 times, will be making just his second start of the season. He is filling in for Rick Reed, who is out with an ailing back. On May 9, Santana gave up just four hits through five innings of a 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox. The 24-year-old lefty has never faced the Padres.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Loewer (1-1, 5.21 ERA). Before Monday’s win over Arizona, Loewer was 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in three starts. He has never faced Minnesota.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Jacque Jones, .312 avg., 35 runs and 6 SBs; Bobby Kielty and Torii Hunter, 8 HRs; Hunter, 36 RBIs. Padres - Rondell White .297 avg.; White and Ryan Klesko, 10 HRs; Klesko, 32 RBIs; Xavier Nady, 32 runs; Shane Victorino and Ramon Vazquez, 7 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Twins - 3-1. Padres - 1-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - LHP Eddie Guardado converted 24 consecutive save opportunites before giving up three runs in the ninth inning Friday. … SS Christian Guzman went 3-for-6 Friday, extending his hitting streak to seven games. … Minnesota is 23-3 when scoring first. Padres - 3B Sean Burroughs, who suffered a bruised left forearm after being hit by a pitch Thursday, was not in the starting lineup Friday. He entered in the top of the 10th and struck out in his only at-bat. … The Padres haven’t won consecutive games since taking three straight April 23-25. … LF White went 2-for-6 Friday, extending his hitting streak to 16 games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 19-11 on the road; Padres - 11-23 at home.
INJURIES: Twins - RHP Reed (back), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL. Padres - OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Clay Condrey (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Brandon Villafuerte (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Kevin Jarvis (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Kevin Walker (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jay Witasick (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Phil Nevin (shoulder), 60-day DL.