SARASOTA, Fla. — Brad Bergesen acknowledges that he was very worried after he suffered a strained shoulder in December, but he seems confident he'll be back on the mound in the next two weeks.
"Every time I throw, there's change," Bergesen said. "The progression has gone great. [Assistant athletic trainer] Brian Ebel and I have spent so much time together. I feel like he's worked a miracle with me."
The Orioles projected that Bergesen's training schedule would be set back 10 days when it was revealed that he had come up sore after an Orioles TV commercial shoot. That still appears to be the general timetable, though it is not the kind of injury that lends itself to exact projections.
"I don't know how the next couple of weeks are going to go with the progression," Bergesen said. "But the way I feel, I feel great right now. I think the next step is just leading up to some mound sessions. I think in the next 12-14 days or so, I'll probably be on the mound if all goes as it has. ... At one point, I was very worried about it before I got under the care of Brian. Now, my mind is set on just getting ready for the season."
Bergesen understands that the circumstances surrounding his injury created an uncomfortable situation for the team. He already has taken responsibility for that, but said he has tried to ignore the controversy.
"I haven't paid attention to that, but that's what I do all the time. I don't read the newspaper. I don't watch 'Baseball Tonight.' I don't read the blogs. Good or bad, I just don't want to get caught up in it. But I had gotten a couple of text messages from friends that can't help themselves but to tell me what people are writing."
Patton soldiers on
Pitcher Troy Patton says he's ready to go after coming up short last season. He has thrown six bullpen sessions but said he's still taking longer to get his shoulder loose than he would like.
"I think it's because of the cold weather," he said. "It's been cold in Houston."
Still, he feels like he's back in a normal routine and hopes to prove that he can hold up over a full season.
"Once again, I'm trying to build up innings this year," Patton said. "I feel like I've been saying that every year. It seems like I get to 100 innings and start to fatigue. ... There was a little bit of mental fatigue [last year], too. I started out well at Double-A and then got hit around a little bit at Triple-A."
Gonzalez checks in
Reliever Mike Gonzalez, whom the Orioles acquired via free agency, was playing catch at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday and will throw his first bullpen session as an Oriole in Thursday's first pitcher-catcher workout.
"I've been ready to go for two weeks already," he said.
Gonzalez, who is expected to be the regular closer this season, got to meet a lot of his teammates at FanFest, so he's not worried about getting comfortable with a new team.
"As far as being nervous, it's like going from one big family to the next, except I'm going to have a lot more younger brothers than I'm used to."
Koji Uehara met with the American media Wednesday morning and said he has no problem with being moved into a middle-relief role, though he said he had not yet been officially informed of the club's plans.
"I haven't spoken directly with the skipper or the front office yet," he said through interpreter Jiwon Bang, "but my goal is to stay in the major leagues all season. We'll see what happens."
Uehara said his elbow feels good, but when he was asked about his chronic hamstring problem, he was a little more circumspect. "So far, so good," he said.