Bergesen starts strong in Orioles' win over Pirates

Right-hander turns in solid performance in club's exhibition opener

February 28, 2011|By Peter Schmuck, The Baltimore Sun

BRADENTON, Fla. — Right-hander Brad Bergesen threw the first Orioles pitch of the Grapefruit League exhibition season Monday afternoon and went on to complete two scoreless innings in his team's 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field.

Bergesen allowed just a leadoff double to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez in the second inning, then left him at second by retiring the next three batters in order. It was a nice way to start for a pitcher who had already made a good first impression on manager Buck Showalter during the final two months of the 2010 season.

"I felt good today for the first outing," Bergesen said. "There's definitely things I need to tune up a little bit. Fastball felt OK. I need to start working down. Changeup actually felt good today, and I threw a few good sliders in there. Overall, for [the] first outing, it was a good one to get my feet wet today."

The rest of the team got off to a good start, too. Vladimir Guerrero drove in the first run of the game with an infield hit in his first exhibition at-bat as an Oriole, and Nolan Reimold led off the second inning with a long home run.

Reimold said Sunday that he felt he had to prove to Showalter that he isn't the player who regressed after a solid debut season in 2009. Bergesen pitched very well in front of the new manager at the end of last season, but he still wants to make a statement this spring.

"Every year I come in, I've always got something to prove," Bergesen said. "I think that's what always keeps me going and always makes you better. In this game, you never want to settle or feel comfortable, so for me, especially with a new staff, I want to come in here and do what I'm capable of doing, and also prove a point here."

The Orioles broke open a tight game in the eighth inning on a bases-loaded double by reserve infield candidate Brendan Harris and a sacrifice fly.

Veteran pitcher Ryan Drese, who is trying to make a comeback after two elbow reconstruction surgeries, retired all six batters he faced in his Orioles exhibition debut.

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