Simon to be activated

Bergesen sent down

Closer returns from hamstring injury

pitcher re-joins Triple-A rotation

June 13, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles have gotten one relief pitcher back and have sent another to the starting rotation at Triple-A Norfolk.

After Sunday's 11-4 loss to the New York Mets, the club activated closer Alfredo Simon, who has been on the disabled since May 25 with a strained left hamstring.

To make room for Simon, the Orioles demoted right-hander Brad Bergesen to Norfolk, where he'll re-join the rotation after two games as a big league reliever.

Simon was 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA and six saves in seven opportunities before injuring his hamstring covering first base May 23 in Washington. He threw 20-25 pitches in a simulated inning Sunday against Orioles backup catcher Craig Tatum and said he felt ready to return.

"I try to come back to the same thing I was doing before. It feels really good right now," Simon said. "When I try to run hard, I feel a little bit [in the hamstring], but when I am throwing, not at all."

Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said Simon likely would not pitch in Monday night's game against the San Francisco Giants. David Hernandez, who converted his one save opportunity while Simon was injured, would be called upon if another arises Monday.

Samuel said Simon would reclaim the closer's spot but that Hernandez also will get chances to close.

"If we have the scenario where either guy closes two days in a row, let's say we use Simon for two days, and the third day you have Hernandez there," Samuel said. "But there is going to be some flexibility."

The Orioles did not seriously consider demoting a hitter, such as little-used reserve outfielder Lou Montanez, because the club is about to play six games in National League parks and Samuel wants a deeper bench "for double switches, pinch running, situations like that."

Bergesen odd man out

Bergesen said he was "a little bit" surprised by the demotion when he addressed reporters moments after being sent down.

"I'm just kind of at a loss for words. I've got to get my thoughts together," he said. "It's a numbers game sometimes. They told me that they want to get me the innings, and right now I'm not getting the innings. That's one of the main causes. Of course I'm not happy about the situation, but what's done is done; there's no grudges that are held here. I've just got to go down and work my butt off to get back here."

Bergesen, who pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief in Sunday's game, was moved to the bullpen after his June 2 start against the Yankees in New York. He made only two appearances totaling 3 1/3 innings after that. He has started 10 games for the Orioles this season, going 3-4 with a 6.75 ERA, and the Orioles want him to pitch out of a rotation again.

"I think we're doing him a disservice by keeping him in the bullpen. This is a guy that we think is going to be a starter here for a long time, and he just needs to go down there and pitch," Samuel said. "I think the best thing for him is to go down there and pitch, start games, and get back to the guy we know we saw here. And, hopefully, he will be joining us up here soon."

Samuel not focused on his future

Samuel, who is now 2-7 as the Orioles' interim manager, knows president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has interviewed two potential managerial candidates. Samuel said he's not concerning himself with how long he has the job.

"To be honest, that's not on my mind," said Samuel, who had never managed in the majors. "When I spoke with Andy, it was explained to me it could be two months, it could be three years. It could be: 'We are going to talk to some people.' For me, right now, [the focus] is to get these guys going. … I am going to enjoy this experience. I just want to push these guys a little bit, continue to work, continue to see some progress on these young players. That's my main goal."

Scott, hitters just frustrated, Samuel says

Samuel said he was aware that designated hitter Luke Scott showed the media a still-frame shot of a sixth-inning called third strike — that appeared to be an obvious ball — after Saturday's loss to the Mets. Samuel said the club's hitters are frustrated and that he doesn't believe the umpires are being unfair to the Orioles.

"Those umpires are professional," Samuel said. "I am not saying they have an agenda against anybody. They are not perfect. Nobody's perfect. To me, it is just frustration. In key situations, [hitters] want to come through, calls don't go their way, it's a major frustration."

Around the horn

After Sunday's loss, the Orioles are 1-5 in interleague play this season and 102-133 all time. … The Single-A Frederick Keys won the Carolina League's North Division first-half pennant, guaranteeing them a playoff spot. The last Orioles affiliate to make the playoffs was the Double-A Bowie Baysox in 2008. … The Orioles hosted nearly 600 cancer survivors and their families from St. Joseph Medical Center on Sunday. Cancer survivors Thomas Conelius and Rachel Minkove threw out the ceremonial first pitches. … Former Maryland basketball

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