In 2008, Nate McLouth hit .276 with 26 homers, 94 RBIs and an .853 OPS for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a National League All-Star, won a Gold Glove and led the NL with 46 doubles.
This year, it wasn’t going nearly as well for him. He was batting just .140 for the Pirates with 18 strikeouts in 57 at-bats when he was designated for assignment on May 25 and released a few days later.
He would then get picked up by the Orioles and sent to Triple-A Norfolk. Now, a couple of months after being designated for assignment, he has worked his way back to the big leagues. It is nice to get there the first time, but also satisfying, he said, to work your way back when a team has given up on you.
“There is no question,” McLouth said Monday in the Orioles’ clubhouse. “I knew the role that I was going to have on that (Pittsburgh) team and I didn’t do it well this year. They gave me the option of going to Triple-A with them, but I just kind of wanted a new start. They were totally professional about it, but it does definitely feel good to work your way back and be back where I want to be.”
The 30-year-old McLouth doubled in his first O’s at-bat Saturday at Tampa Bay and is 2-for-5 so far with the club. He’s back in the majors and in addition to that, on a team trying to make a playoff run.
“That’s exciting. I’m very appreciative to be here and have this opportunity,” he said. “Especially on a team where it’s been a while since they’ve been to the playoffs, kind of like with Pittsburgh. I know the fans are really pumped up about that.”
As for his playing time, he knows some of that is up to him.
“The better you play the more you play. That’s the way it is everywhere. Whenever I’m given the opportunity, I’m going to make the most of it,” he said.
McLouth may get the start in left field in the last two games of this series against Seattle right-handers Blake Beaven and Kevin Millwood.
It may not be Roenicke/Lowenstein but for now, the Orioles’ revolving door in left field has settled on the Lew Ford-McLouth platoon.
At this point, I’m sure platooning in the big leagues sounds just fine to McLouth, a player that was released this year by one big league team but found his way back with another.