Jones Might Sit Twins Series Out

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

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Trembley Says Center Fielder 'Day-to-day' With Sore Back

August 25, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

MINNEAPOLIS - -His back still sore, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was unavailable for Monday night's game against the Minnesota Twins, and it's possible he might not play in the series.

"My back hurts, so I've just got to deal with it," said Jones, who had mild mid-back spasms and was pulled from Sunday's 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox before the bottom of the first inning.

Jones saw a doctor and received treatment Monday, and he was in no mood to discuss his condition. He did say he felt considerably better and estimated he would be out of the lineup "for a couple of days, probably."

Felix Pie started in center field and will remain there as long as Jones is out. Jones is hitting just .236 since driving in the winning run for the American League in the All-Star Game and is in the midst of a 3-for-25 slump. He has started 113 of the Orioles' 125 games this season.

"To me, he's listed as day-to-day," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Today he is not available, and he will not play. ... We're just making sure that he's 100 percent and he can play. When he is, [head athletic trainer] Richie Bancells will tell me and Adam will tell me, and I'll put his name back in the lineup."

Bergesen progressing

Injured Orioles starter Brad Bergesen threw Sunday for the first time in about two weeks and came away optimistic about his chances for rejoining the rotation at some point in September. Bergesen hasn't thrown off a mound since he was hit in the left shin by Billy Butler's line drive July 30.

"I felt a little awkward with my timing after not throwing for like three weeks, but it felt all right," Bergesen said in a phone interview from Sarasota, Fla., where he is rehabilitating at the club's minor league complex. "I'm still experiencing a little discomfort. It's not 100 percent, but it's coming along."

Bergesen threw from 60 feet and said the way he felt was a "huge difference" compared with when he first tried to throw again about a week and a half after his injury. He will be examined by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens today, and then the club will determine the next step in his throwing program.

Asked whether he's confident he'll pitch again this season, Bergesen said: "That's my goal, and I'm doing everything I possibly can to get back. I'd be crushed if I wasn't able to come back and pitch in September, but at the same time, I don't want to rush it and put myself at risk."

Movement over velocity

Jason Berken's decision to throw more two-seam fastballs than four-seam ones was motivated by the number of home runs the rookie starter was allowing. Before throwing 5 2/3 solid innings to beat the White Sox on Sunday, Berken had allowed homers in six of his past seven outings and a total of six home runs in his past three starts.

Many of those homers had come on four-seam fastballs, a pitch Berken can reach the mid-90s with but had trouble locating down in the strike zone. His two-seam fastball, meanwhile, has significantly less velocity but a lot more movement.

"I throw the four-seam fastball in the 90-to-95 range, but when I do miss that pitch, it's over the plate," said Berken, who had given up three homers in his previous start before holding the White Sox without one. "For me to be able to sink the ball and have a little more margin for error, it's a big pitch for me. I'm not a 6-foot-5 guy. I'm a 6-foot right-hander, and I've got to be able to keep the ball down."

Audition slow to develop

Trembley said Luke Scott will likely start at first base tonight. Since trading Aubrey Huff, the Orioles have been hoping to evaluate Scott at first base, but he has received very few chances in his three starts at the position.

"He's played four games, and they haven't hit him a darn ground ball yet," Trembley said. "I haven't been able to see too much."

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