Billy Rowell is going to try pitching, plus Norfolk’s rotation

Orioles 2006 first-round draft pick Billy Rowell, who has struggled the last few years as a hitter, has agreed to take a shot at pitching.

He has been taking part in the beginnings of a throwing program the last two days in Sarasota and will continue with that for about a month. At that point, the Orioles will decide if he has made enough progress to pitch in extended spring training games. If he advances past that, he could possibly join a minor league affiliate as a pitcher later this season.

After producing some solid offensive numbers very early in his career, Rowell, the ninth pick in round one, has struggled at bat since his first two seasons and has not lived up to the promise of a first-round pick. After spending three seasons in Single-A, he hit just .227 in a reserve role last year at Double-A Bowie.

In another minor league matter, the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, because of a rainout last night and doubleheader tomorrow, are going to need six starting pitchers over the next five days beginning tonight.

Brad Bergesen is starting for the Tides this evening in their season opener. In the twinbill tomorrow, Chris Tillman and Steve Johnson are expected to start. Then Dana Eveland will pitch Sunday, followed by Jason Berken on Monday and Chris George on Tuesday.

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