Rowell tries to get ahead, despite playing catch-up

While this year's top draft pick, catcher Matt Wieters, continues to work out with the Aberdeen IronBirds before playing in Hawaii later this month, the Orioles' first selection in 2006 is concluding a season that started late but had decent results.

Third baseman Bill Rowell was batting .273 in 89 games at Single-A Delmarva before yesterday, with 21 doubles, three triples, eight homers, 56 RBIs and a .422 slugging percentage. He hit safely in five of seven games.


Rowell was trying to make up for lost time after a strained oblique muscle kept him at extended spring training.

"I think he's had a solid season," said scout Dean Albany, who signed Rowell. "He's made good strides defensively at third base. He's playing well there. Something he'll need to work on in the instructional league is he's struggled against some good college left-handed pitchers."


Any critique of Rowell as a professional must include a notation that he doesn't turn 19 until next Monday.

"I'd say 85 percent, maybe 90 percent, of the kids in the South Atlantic League are older than him," Albany said. "He's one of the younger players there, but he's holding his own.

"He's got a good manager in Gary Kendall. Gary has Billy doing a lot of early work, taking ground balls and things like that. He's an old-school manager who gets him out on the field early."

Rowell batted .329 in 42 games at rookie-level Bluefield last year, and .326 in 11 games at short-season Single-A Aberdeen. He hit some tape-measure home runs at Delmarva.

"I feel the same as I did the day we drafted him. He's going to be a very good third baseman in the majors," Albany said.

Rowell shows confidence, which can be mistaken for arrogance by people who aren't close to him.

"He's had success all his life," Albany said. "That's one of the things we liked when we met him before the draft. There's a difference between being very confident and being cocky and not feeling like you need to improve. Billy Rowell knows that he needs to get better. And he works hard at it.

"He knows it's just a matter of time."


Triple-A Norfolk

Sebastien Boucher, acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the John Parrish trade, was batting .205 in his first 21 games. ... In his past 10 games going into the weekend, first baseman Mike Cervenak was batting .361 with two homers and eight RBIs. Cervenak led the International League with 155 hits. ... Third baseman Terry Tiffee was batting .217 in 60 home games and .319 in 61 road games. ... Second baseman Eider Torres hit safely in eight of nine games, batting .400 with five multi-hit games. ... Jon Leicester, promoted to the Orioles last week, led the league with a 1.20 ERA in August. ... Cory Doyne made the league's postseason All-Star team after collecting a franchise-record 29 saves, but he hasn't pitched since the Orioles optioned him Aug. 3 because of a sore shoulder. He remains on the disabled list. ... Tim Kester posted a 2.51 ERA last month.

Double-A Bowie

The Orioles aren't the only team having trouble avoiding a big inning. Bowie gave up 15 runs in the fifth Saturday night in a 21-1 loss to Connecticut. The Defenders batted around twice while collecting nine hits. First baseman Luis Jimenez tossed a perfect ninth. ... Luis Montanez, who homered Saturday, has hit safely in 12 straight road games, batting .385 with 13 runs scored and a .439 on-base percentage. ... Before the weekend, catcher Gustavo Molina was batting .375 with nine multi-hit games in 19 games with the Baysox. ... Outfielder Nolan Reimold hit eight homers in August. ... Fredy Deza was 3-2 with a 3.98 ERA in 10 starts since the break.

Single-A Frederick

The Orioles shut down pitcher Brandon Erbe, who has been bothered by a strained oblique. Erbe was 6-8 with a 6.26 ERA. They also promoted infielder Tyler Henson from short-season Single-A Aberdeen. ... Fourth-round draft pick Timothy Bascom was promoted from Delmarva and won his first start Thursday, allowing two earned runs in five innings. ... Heading into the weekend, shortstop Blake Davis ranked fifth in the Carolina League with a .296 average. ... Catcher Zach Dillon led the league with a .400 average in August, hitting safely in nine straight games. Dillon posted a .459 on-base percentage and .631 slugging percentage. ... Second baseman Jonathan Tucker was hitting .302 in 61 home games and .233 in 58 road games. ... David Hernandez led the league with 150 strikeouts going into yesterday's start.


Single-A Delmarva

Outfielder Brandon Tripp led the Shorebirds with 19 homers going into the weekend. He ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League with a .538 slugging percentage. ... First baseman Chris Vinyard led Delmarva with 33 doubles and 80 RBIs. ... Outfielder Paul Winterling hit .400 with two homers and five RBIs in 10 games. ... Catcher Victor Castillo batted .385 over 10 games. ... Outfielder Daniel Figueroa's 35 stolen bases led the team, with 13 coming in August. ... Reid Hamblet was 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six August games.

Short-season teams

The IronBirds announced they are retiring Nos. 8, 3 and 7 in honor of Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Ripken and Cal Ripken Sr., respectively ... Aberdeen's Shane Mathews earned his first professional save Saturday. ... Center fielder Matthew Angle ranked second in the New York-Penn League with 30 stolen bases and 51 runs scored. He led the club with 41 walks and a .415 on-base percentage. ... First baseman Anthony Martinez's 41 RBIs led Aberdeen. ... Outfielder Kraig Binick finished second in the Appalachian League with six triples and fifth with 52 runs scored. ... Shortstop Jason White led the league with 24 doubles and ranked second with 28 extra-base hits. ... Third baseman Pedro Silveren was eighth with a .320 average in August. ... Gulf Coast third baseman Tyler Kolodny finished the season ranked fifth in the league with a .406 on-base percentage and .530 slugging percentage, and eighth with a .318 average. ... First baseman Elvin Polanco led the league with 18 doubles and was second with 69 hits and 23 extra-base hits, third with 37 RBIs and eighth with a .318 average. ... Left-hander Cole McCurry was second with 62 strikeouts.