Orioles starter Bergesen sent to bullpen

It's not clear if he'll return to starting rotation or if Arrieta will be promoted

June 05, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen, who lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his last start against the New York Yankees, has been sent to the bullpen and will have at least one start skipped.

Whether the new assignment lasts beyond one turn has not been determined, but Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said there are no immediate plans to call up another pitcher to take Bergesen's spot in the rotation.

"We don't know how long he is going to be down there [in the bullpen]," Samuel said. "We don't need a starter right now, and I think he could help us more in the bullpen at this point."

The Orioles have an off day on Monday, meaning Bergesen's turn can be skipped while the remainder of the rotation remains on four days' rest until Saturday, June 12 against the New York Mets. It's possible Bergesen will move back into his slot then.

Another possibility is that the club could promote Jake Arrieta, one of the organization's top prospects, who is 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A Norfolk.

Arrieta, who has not pitched in the majors, was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday night for Norfolk because the Orioles weren't sure if they would have to shuffle their pitching staff because of injury. That need did not arise, so Arrieta was used out of the bullpen for the Tides against Buffalo.

For now, Bergesen, who is 3-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 10 starts, said he'll just pitch whenever and wherever he is needed. He could be used as a long reliever or in shorter stints.

"I'm just going to go about it just how I normally would do. It's obviously a different job, but I've been out of the (bullpen) a couple of times in the minor leagues," Bergesen said. "I think the biggest thing is just to be able to get an extra arm out there in the bullpen. Other than that, who knows whether it's just one time through the rotation or what. They don't know as of right now."

Roberts scratched again

For the second consecutive day, Brian Roberts (herniated disk) was scratched from playing in an extended spring training game in Sarasota, Fla., on Saturday due to lingering soreness in his back.

The Orioles are considering it a minor setback.

"I wasn't expecting him to play today," said Andy MacPhail, the club's president of baseball operations. "It's sort of as symptoms allow. I don't know whether it's going to be two, three days, five days. Nobody seems to be terribly worried based on what we know now. It just might be one of those things."

Roberts hasn't played in a game since April 9. He is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday, but that won't happen. No timetable is set for his return, and until he does, the Orioles will continue to be concerned about their leadoff hitter and offensive sparkplug.

"You all know how much we need Brian Roberts, how much he means to our whole club and having a set lineup with him at the leadoff spot," Samuel said. "From what I understand he had a little issue again with his lower back … At this point, yes, you do have to [be concerned], because we need all the help we can get at this time because we know what Brian can do."

Gonzalez struggles

Samuel said reliever Michael Gonzalez (left shoulder) did not pitch well during an extended spring game Saturday and he won't pitch again until Tuesday.

"He was just not hitting his spots. I'm not sure about the velocity. I was told it wasn't that good, wasn't what I expected" Samuel said. "So we're going to give him two off days, come back again and throw one, then two more off days."

Gonzalez is also eligible to return from the DL June 9, but the club had been targeting mid-June. Samuel said no concrete plans have been made for his return.

"It's just too far ahead for us to think," Samuel said. "We'll see how his next session goes and we'll have a better idea.

Early infield practice

Instead of having infielders engage in fielding drills during batting practice, the group did it before hitters came onto the field Saturday. Samuel said third baseman Miguel Tejada made the suggestion, and Samuel said he thought it was a great idea.

"During BP, you don't have that much time to work, other than just to take your ground balls," Samuel said. "But if you have to bring somebody out to work, either on footwork or throwing the ball, that's the opportunity, that's the chance that we have to do that."

Around the horn

Samuel said he considers left-hander Will Ohman to be the team's closer at this point. … Right-hander David Hernandez will continue to be used late in the game. … Samuel said he'd like to give struggling catcher Matt Wieters more days off, which could help him snap out of a hitting funk. Wieters has started 46 of the club's first 56 games behind the plate. … Lefty reliever Mike Hinckley, who was 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA at Double-A Bowie, was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. He'll replace Pedro Viola, who has been sent to Bowie after going 0-2 with a 15.83 ERA at Norfolk.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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