Orioles’ former first-round pick Billy Rowell suspended 50 games for drug of abuse


It took Billy Rowell six seasons to reach Double-A after Baltimore selected him out of high school with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2006 draft and he hasn’t played yet this season because he’s moving from hitter to pitcher.

And now his mound debut will have to wait even longer, as the 23-year-old first baseman-turned-pitcher has been suspended 50 games for a second positive drug test.

According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun the suspension is for a drug of abuse, which means it wasn’t a performance-enhancing substance.

Rowell was a non-prospect as a hitter because of a .389 career slugging percentage and he was set to begin his pitching career all the way down in rookie-ball.

Rowell is the third Orioles minor leaguer to receive a 50-game suspension this season.

Report: Alex Cobb expected to sign soon

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Update (5:36 PM ET): Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the Orioles are close to an agreement with Cobb. The contract is believed to be at least three years and in the range of $50 million.


Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that free agent pitcher Alex Cobb is expected to sign with a team soon. He notes that the Orioles are believed to be the favorite for Cobb’s services. Cobb has kept pushing for a multi-year contract rather than settling for a one-year deal.

Cobb, 30, posted a 3.66 ERA with a 128/44 K/BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings for the Rays last season.

If Baltimore is indeed his next destination, Cobb will provide a much-needed boost to the Orioles’ starting rotation, which currently includes Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman.