After eventful 2012 year, Avery begins this season with Double-A Bowie (updated)

After being named a Carolina League postseason All-Star in 2010 and earning a spot in the Eastern League midseason All-Star game in 2011, Orioles outfield prospect Xavier Avery had a rather wild 2012 season.

It started with him playing his first season at the Triple-A level on opening day and by May he was already in Baltimore for one of four stints in the majors last season. He spent time in May, June, July and September with the O's.

He flashed some nice skills with the Orioles after his big league debut on May 13. After his first eight O's games, he was batting .313 with an OPS of .858. He made 23 starts in left field and played in 32 games overall, batting .223 with a homer and six RBIs.

While getting big league time is great for any young player, the back and forth shuttle between Triple-A and the bigs can make it tough for a player to get his bat going and Avery struggled at times.

In 102 games with Norfolk, he batted .236 with eight homers and 34 RBIs. But he batted just .184 in 163 at-bats after the All-Star break.

Now he finds himself back at Double-A Bowie as the club has an abundance of outfielders that missed out on making the Orioles.

The 23-year-old that the Orioles drafted out of a Georgia high school in the 2008 second round will try to reestablish his prospect status and show the club he can still be a big league option this season and down the road.

But for now, he is back in the Eastern League and he'll take the field tomorrow night in Harrisburg when the Baysox open there.

"X is going to be our center fielder opening night and we'll move some guys around. He will probably play the majority of games out there. He's played a lot of center, but he'll also get some time in left," Bowie manager Gary Kendall said.

Kendall is of course aware of Avery's 2012 season and late-season stats. Now, he and the staff there will work to help Avery get back on track.

"Just needs his at-bats, to get deep into counts, to trust himself and put good swings on pitches. To keep bunting. When I saw him in Baltimore last year or read (Norfolk manager Ron Johnson's) game reports, I think he has become a better bunter," Kendall said of the player Baseball America ranks as Baltimore's No. 7 prospect.

"He needs to become more consistent. It is something young players struggle with when they go to the majors. He will have a very positive work environment here. He'll work hard and get where he needs to be and we're going to make sure of that."

Updated: The Single-A Frederick Keys open a new season on Friday night at home against Salem at Harry Grove Stadium. The Keys are expected to open with this six-man rotation: Devin Jones, Tyler Wilson, Tim Berry, Zach Davies, Eduardo Rodrigez and Zach Petersime.


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