Cherry recalled to take Bradford's roster spot



August 09, 2008|By Childs Walker and Jeff Zrebiec | Childs Walker and Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporters

The Orioles recalled relief pitcher Rocky Cherry yesterday to fill the roster spot vacated when Chad Bradford went to the Tampa Bay Rays in a waiver deal.

Cherry, who has pitched well at Triple-A Norfolk, will be given a chance to earn a permanent spot in the bullpen, manager Dave Trembley said.

Initial speculation had suggested the Orioles would call up a reliever to replace Bradford temporarily but would then recall right-hander Hayden Penn to start tomorrow or early next week. But Penn is suffering from a leg injury and might not be able to make his next start, Trembley said.

Chris Waters, who allowed one hit over eight innings in his debut Tuesday, will start tomorrow, staying on the schedule he followed in Norfolk. Dennis Sarfate will start in Cleveland on Monday, and Garrett Olson will follow Tuesday.

Trembley praised Bradford's work this season but said Thursday's trade, for a player to be named, fit with the Orioles' emphasis on youth.

"We're going to go with younger guys and give guys opportunities," he said. "That's in line with what our philosophy is going into next year."

Reliever Jamie Walker said he will miss Bradford, his good friend.

"It's hard enough to find guys who throw strikes, and then you get a proven one," Walker said. "You don't know what we're getting for him, so you just wonder what's going on. But that's not my job to make those decisions."

Walker, also the subject of trade speculation, said he's happy to be in Baltimore and hasn't thought about being moved.

Cherry, who turns 29 on Aug. 19, was acquired from the Chicago Cubs last year along with infielder Scott Moore in exchange for Steve Trachsel. He had pitched well for Chicago but struggled to a 7.71 ERA in 10 appearances for the Orioles. He had a 2.89 ERA in 37 1/3 innings for Norfolk this season.

"I'm glad to get another opportunity," he said. "I've just been throwing strikes."

Trembley said he's not sure how he will use Cherry but noted that he's largely a one- or two-inning reliever. The manager said he will experiment with new bullpen configurations, though Jim Johnson and George Sherrill will continue to pitch the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

Penn, a former top prospect who has battled injuries for several years, is 6-7 with a 4.79 ERA at Norfolk. He has pitched well in his past three starts but suffered a gash when a broken bat hit him during his last outing. Trembley said the club will employ a "conservative" approach with Penn.

He added that the Orioles have no plans to reach down to Double-A Bowie for top pitching prospect Chris Tillman. The Orioles are monitoring Tillman's teammate, Bradley Bergesen, for a possible September call-up.

Slowed to a halt

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has been slowed by a sore ankle, but the speedy leadoff man said this week that it's not the reason he has been virtually immobile on the bases recently. Roberts, who had 50 steals last season, has 28 this year but just one in two attempts in his previous 22 games.

"Sure, there are times, like in 2005, when we're swinging the bats great and you're probably not going to steal as many bases," Roberts said. "Then there are times like last year. We didn't hit very well and we had to try to make things happen. But this year, the middle of our lineup has been great. If a guy goes fast to the plate, it may not be the time to take a chance."

Roberts has been caught stealing 10 times this year, but that hasn't deterred him from running, either.

"I've always said I'd steal 50 a year if you want me to," he said.

"I'd run every time I get on, and we'll see what happens. But that's not the point of it. ... I'm here to do it when it counts."

Around the horn

Former closer Gregg Olson will be inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame during a ceremony before tonight's game. The club will also honor longtime traveling secretary Phil Itzoe and superfan William "Wild Bill" Hagy, who died last year. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 6:40.

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