It’s official: The Orioles’ Bill Rowell will shift from third base to right field for the 2009 season, according to masnsports.com.
The first high school position player selected in the ’06 draft (and the ninth overall), Rowell had yet to answer questions about his ability to stick at the hot corner, as evidenced by his .902 fielding percentage in 233 minor league games, a figure that includes 22 errors in 102 games last season. The 20-year-old’s speed has diminished as he’s grown into his 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame, and his hands and feet generally don’t work well together.
"This should take some pressure off him, he put some pressure on himself playing third," Baltimore director of player development David Stockstill told MASN Sports. "We think he’ll be more comfortable in the outfield and he has an outstanding arm for right field. This doesn’t mean he could not switch to another position down the road, but he’s an outfielder now for us."
The lefthanded-hitting Rowell batted .248/.315/.368 in 375 at-bats for high Class A Frederick last season, and he figures to begin the ’09 season as the Keys right fielder.
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