Bergesen on way up to stars

July 08, 2008|By Patrick Gutierrez | Patrick Gutierrez,SUN REPORTER

Being called into work during a scheduled vacation is rarely an occasion for celebration, but Double-A Bowie pitcher Bradley Bergesen couldn't be happier to have to cancel his plans.

Bergesen, who is 10-2 with a 2.53 ERA this season, was named to the Eastern League All-Star team last week. He will be heading to Manchester, N.H., for the event July 16, along with fellow starting pitcher Chris Tillman, left fielder Lou Montanez and third baseman Jeff Nettles.

"I'm very happy with the way I've pitched this season," said Bergesen, a 6-foot-2 right-hander who has struck out 45 in 92 1/3 innings.

Since being taken in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, Bergesen has steadily risen through the Orioles' farm system, earning three promotions in four years. After a short stint with short-season Aberdeen, he was assigned to Single-A Delmarva in 2006, but he missed the second half of the season with mononucleosis. He came back strong in 2007, going 7-3 and earning a promotion to Single-A Frederick, where he finished the season. He made four starts with Frederick before getting promoted to Bowie.

Bergesen, who tied a season high with seven strikeouts last Tuesday, has been relying more on his control to get people out this season, something he attributes to lessons he has learned from pitching coach Mike Griffin and others who have worked with him since he turned professional out of high school.

"I've always tried to take a little bit from every pitching coach I've had," said Bergesen, who throws a slider and a changeup, as well as a four-seam and two-seam fastball. "I've done a lot with Mike in getting more movement on my pitches. The main thing is to be more consistent on every pitch."

Baysox manager Brad Komminsk agreed, adding that Bergesen's ability to locate his pitches has also been a big reason for his success this season.

"He keeps the ball down and is able to execute each pitch," said Komminsk, whose Baysox are in second place in their division, five games out of first going into last night. "He's throwing the ball really well right now."

Triple-A Norfolk

Reliever Alberto Castillo had not given up a run in 10 starts before Friday's game, when he was touched up for three runs in 2 2/3 innings at Richmond.

The Cuban-born left-hander, who celebrated his 33rd birthday over the weekend, is 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA and has struck out 26 in 26 1/3 innings this season. Lefties in particular are having a tough time against him, batting .093.

Not to be confused with the former Orioles' catcher of the same name, Castillo was signed by the team in February after he pitched well for Mexico in the Caribbean Series, where he faced the likes of former Oriole Miguel Tejada.

Single-A Frederick

Justin Johnson has filled in nicely at catcher after Matt Wieters was promoted to Double-A Bowie. Johnson, 25, hit .315 over a seven-game stretch through Friday. Billy Rowell, 19, had six hits over the weekend to raise his average to .229. The third baseman has 16 doubles.

Single-A Delmarva

Second baseman Ryan Adams has hit safely in eight of his past 10 games and posted five multi-hit games during that span to raise his average to .297. Outfielder Kieron Pope slugged two home runs last week, giving him eight this year, second on the team behind Joe Nowicki's 13.

Single-A Aberdeen

Pitcher Cole McCurry is 2-0 in four starts for the IronBirds after being sent down from Delmarva. He pitched six innings of three-hit ball his last time out and struck out seven while not allowing a run.

patrick.gutierrez@baltsun.com

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