O's pitcher Bergesen has injured shoulder

Strain to limit him in spring training for at least 10 days

February 12, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly | Baltimore Sun reporters

Orioles starting right-hander Brad Bergesen will not be able to fully participate in spring training for at least 10 days after pitchers and catchers report Wednesday because of a strained right shoulder capsule that he injured during the filming of an Orioles TV commercial in early December.

Bergesen said he is participating in a throwing program in Sarasota, Fla., but has not been able to throw off a mound since he hurt his shoulder in the promotional shoot.

"I think initially I will probably be 10 days behind everyone, but I am not coming off a major arm injury or surgery," he said. "Once they feel I am capable of being on the mound and having good sessions, then I will be caught up to everyone."

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he is not overly concerned about the setback.

"He did too much too soon, which isn't terribly uncommon. And we expect he'll be ready by Opening Day, maybe be a week or so behind in spring training," he said. "So it wasn't something totally alarming to us, if it works out as we anticipate it will."

MacPhail added, however, that the club will monitor such commercial shoots more closely in the future.

"We have already made some adjustments in terms of making sure we have medical personnel or baseball personnel present for anything we do in the future."

Bergesen, 24, who went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts last season, was shut down after he took a liner off his shin during a start July 30.

He didn't pitch again for the Orioles after that and hadn't thrown off a mound until he filmed the commercial, which was shot in an indoor batting cage at Camden Yards. It featured Bergesen throwing pitch after pitch off a mound to an unidentified catcher.

"Obviously, I hadn't picked up a ball. I'm kicking myself in the head about it. That's really what it was from. Not working on a mound up to that point," Bergesen said. "I just jumped up on the mound and gave it a go. I was trying to be game speed. I was trying to be realistic as possible with it.

"The production company that came in wanted it to be as realistic as possible. And I was trying to please, and I got caught up in a moment."

Bergesen, the Orioles' most consistent starter until getting hit by the line drive off the bat of the Kansas City Royals' Billy Butler on July, said he had an MRI in January that showed the strain. He was in Baltimore for three weeks, rehabilitating with the club's athletic trainers.

He still believes he'll be ready for Opening Day, which is encouraging news for the Orioles, whose rotation is essentially set with Bergesen, Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.

If Bergesen is not ready for the Opening Day rotation, either David Hernandez or Jason Berken would likely replace him.

"It's just a progression right now. I have thrown about six times, and every time I have thrown I feel much better. I am just increasing each session," said Bergesen, who turned in a quality start in 11 of his final 12 outings. "At this particular point, I am not nearly as concerned about it as I once was.

"I think everyone is happy it's not something worse than it was. A lot of people are relieved, and think it's just a bump in the road and I'm going to get over this and not miss any part of the season."

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