Hoes nearing a return for the Keys

The Frederick Keys, who are closing in on the first half Northern Division championship in the Carolina League, have even more good news on the way.

Their talented, young second baseman, L.J. Hoes, should be back in the lineup soon.

The 20-year-old, right-handed hitter has not played since May 15th. He's been out with an illness but is feeling better now and has been taking batting practice and ground balls for about a week.

"I'm very excited to get to this point and get healthy again. I'm starting to get my energy and strength back. That's a good thing," Hoes told me today.

He could return as soon as this weekend, but being activated when the Keys start a road trip next Tuesday seems more likely.

"It's been very tough being out and having to watch the guys play. But they've been winning, that's the main thing," Hoes said.

Hoes, the O's third-round pick out of St. John's High in Washington, D.C in 2008, was off to a solid start before he went on the DL.

He was batting .290-1-20 and was leading the league with 24 walks when he left the lineup. His OBP is .413 and OPS is .808. The Keys, who have a magic number of five with 11 games left to wrap up the first half division title, play at Potomac tonight with Ryan O'Shea facing Ross Detwiler, who is pitching on an injury-rehab assignment.

By the way, I wrote here yesterday that Tim Bascom had joined the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. With Jake Arrieta expected to start for the Orioles tomorrow night, it is also likely that Bascom will start Thursday for Norfolk, making his Triple-A debut.

It appears right now, the Orioles will not callup someone from Frederick to take Bascom's rotation spot at Bowie.

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