Rowell Nearing Return

After coming into spring training with an injured oblique muscle, Billy Rowell is finally close to making his 2007 debut.

“Billy is participating in games and getting his innings built up right now,” Orioles farm director Davis Stockstill said. “We’re getting him built up to play nine innings (in extended spring training) and looking at getting him back-to-back days this weekend, and then we’ll be able to make a better evaluation of where he’s at. But he’s coming along really well, swinging the bat well, and we’re very optimistic that he’ll be up north here in the very near future.”

The 18-year-old third baseman has been working out at Orioles’ extended spring training camp in Florida since the minor league season began. Rowell was the first high school hitter selected in the 2006 draft, and third hitter taken overall (the ninth pick). He hit a combined .328/.415/.503 in 195 at-bats between Rookie-level Bluefield and short-season Aberdeen last year.