Minor league updates on Erbe, Delmonico and more

Single-A Delmarva infielder Nicky Delmonico, the Orioles’ sixth-round pick in 2011 and one of the organization’s better hitting prospects, may be able to continue to play this year but is likely to need knee surgery at some point soon, possibly right after the season.

Delmonico first injured his knee on June 26 and re-injured it Wednesday night. He didn’t play yesterday and may test the knee today to see if he can play with some discomfort for the rest of this season.

When he got hurt in late June, it was a medial meniscus injury, he had an MRI and missed about 10 days. Delmonico is batting .248 over 93 Shorebirds games with 22 doubles, 11 homers, 54 RBIs and an OPS of .763.

Pitcher Brandon Erbe has been activated from the disabled list by the Single-A Frederick Keys. He has not pitched since July 2.

Erbe had labrum surgery in August 2010 and has been working his way back since. He said earlier this year his shoulder felt great and his velocity had returned to pre-surgery levels. But then he faced five batters and walked all five in a Keys game on July 2, and he went on the DL the next day.

About a week ago, Erbe told me he was close to returning to the active roster at Frederick.

“I feel good,” he said. “Just needed a little time off, I guess. Just a little setback, but now I feel back to where I was when I first got here. I never expected to have a setback, but I think it was a minor deal.”

Erbe is 2-3 with a 7.94 ERA in 11 games with the Keys. Over 17 innings, he has walked 18 and fanned 18.

Aaron Baker, the O’s minor league leader in homers (22) and RBIs (76), remains unlikely to return this season after he suffered an oblique injury taking batting practice with Double-A Bowie on July 22.

Baker had been with Frederick for most of this year, batting .266 with 22 homers and 72 RBIs along with an OPS of .898 in 89 games. He was moved to Bowie and was 3-for-7 with four RBIs in two games at the time of the injury.

Several fans have asked about Billy Rowell. Here is what I have been told, which is not much from a club official who is choosing not to comment about Rowell for some reason.

His 50-game suspension for a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse is over. Rowell told me in this May interview that he tested positive for marijuana.

Rowell is currently listed on the Aberdeen roster, but he is not with the club. He does remain in the Orioles organization. Earlier this year, the Orioles were trying to convert Rowell to a pitcher, but it appears those plans have been scrapped.

Based on what I’ve been told - which again has not been much - Rowell seems to have little, if any, future with this organization, although the team has yet to release him. They don’t use him, but haven’t cut him. I don’t completely understand either.

And that’s all I’ve got on Rowell.

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