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O's, top choice close to a deal


TORONTO -- The Orioles are close to signing 2006 first-round draft pick Bill Rowell and a deal could be announced early next week when the club returns from its road trip.

Rowell, an infielder from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in New Jersey, was the ninth overall selection in last week's draft. The deal will likely be slightly less than the $2 million contract that Drew Stubbs, the No. 8 overall pick, is expected to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.

"We're close," Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan said. "I don't foresee any problems or anything. Sometime here in the next few days, we'll wrap this up."

Rowell, a high school shortstop who projects as a third baseman or corner outfielder in the pros, will report to short-season Single-A Bluefield when signed.

Jordan said that the Orioles are also finalizing deals with their sandwich pick, Pedro Beato, a right-handed pitcher from St. Petersburg Junior College, and third-round selection Zachary Britton, a high school pitcher from Texas.

They have already signed: Tyler Henson (fifth round), Joshua Tamba (seventh round), Jedidiah Stephen (eighth round), Brett Bordes (ninth round) and Anthony Martinez (11th round).

Loewen likely to face Mets

Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said that despite Adam Loewen's shaky outing here on Tuesday, he is leaning toward giving the rookie another start this weekend against the New York Mets. Loewen is tentatively scheduled to face left-hander Tom Glavine on Sunday after opposing Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay twice in his first three starts.

If Loewen does start Sunday, he'll set a major league record as the first pitcher to face former Cy Young Award winners in his first four starts.

"We're leaning toward it," Perlozzo said when asked if Loewen will get another start. "We haven't made a final [decision]. We're trying to sort out a few other things that may change some things. Nothing is really solid right now."

Perlozzo said that he'd also like to add another field player - either an outfielder or a utility man - for this weekend's series against the Mets. John Halama remains the likely candidate to get designated for assignment.

Rogers makes a U-turn

Just two days after he was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa following the activation of Jay Gibbons, Ed Rogers returned to the Orioles with Gibbons headed back to the disabled list. Rogers was sent down earlier this season to make room for pitcher Hayden Penn, who was sidelined almost immediately because of an appendectomy.

"We decided we're going to never send [Rogers] out again," Perlozzo joked. "We're going to sign him to a long-term contract. It's guaranteed. Every time we send him, something is going to happen."

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