With switch, Keys' Rowell seeks fresh start

Tonight marks Billy Rowell's third consecutive Opening Day with the Single-A Frederick Keys, but not everything remains the same for the Orioles' 2006 first-round draft pick.

After experimenting with Rowell in right field last year, the Orioles decided to move him back to third base for the 2010 season. The transition happened in the final week of spring training, according to Rowell."Me, the Orioles and [director of player development] John Stockstill, think it's a good plan in place and the best way for me to reach the big leagues the fastest," Rowell said earlier this week at the team's media day. "I'm more comfortable there. ... I felt like it was a good move at this time in my career."


Originally, according to Rowell, he was likely going to be playing the outfield with the Double-A Bowie Baysox. However, the 21-year-old infielder isn't concerned with where he starts, as long as he demonstrates the ability to succeed.

"They said I was going to be in Bowie because I was pretty much playing on the Triple-A and Double-A rosters for the whole spring training," Rowell said. "A lot of guys get hung up on [Single-]A or Double-A. It really doesn't matter. It's about dominating a league, producing well and putting up good numbers."

Although message boards and blogs are often filled with criticisms of his performance, Rowell says he doesn't let those things bother him.

"I don't pay attention to any of the media or any of the blogs," Rowell said. "There's a lot of people that are just looking at the game and not really seeing any type of progression because if you're not hitting the ball over the fence, then it wasn't a good hit.

"I know what I'm doing inside. I know how hard I'm working. That's all you can do," he added.

Despite a .259 career batting average in four minor league seasons, Rowell is ready to turn the page and focus on what is needed to pave a path to Baltimore.

"Of course you want to be in the big leagues at 20 years old like [Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason] Heyward, but things don't turn out," Rowell said. "Right now, I feel like I'm at a good point in my career and I can just move forward from here and reach the big leagues in the next few years."