Orioles' Bergesen pleased with solid five-inning outing

'That was positive,' starter says after allowing just 2 runs to Rays

March 20, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Brad Bergesen's outing hung in the balance in the fifth inning Sunday with the Tampa Bay Rays' new slugger, Manny Ramirez, in the batter's box with the bases loaded and two outs.

Bergesen retired Ramirez on a deep flyout to right field, exiting the game feeling much better about himself and his form than he had over his previous three starts.

"That's a test I would always like to pass there," Bergesen said during the Orioles' 9-8 victory at Charlotte Sports Park. "The guy is a future Hall of Famer. Again, it is only spring training, you are not too excited or, if things don't go right, you are not too down. But to get in that situation and do damage control early, like I did, and getting in a situation like that and being able to get out of it, could help confidence at this point."

Bergesen never appeared to be in firm control Sunday, allowing eight hits and a walk over five innings and getting a handful of well-struck outs. However, he surrendered just two runs, a positive step after he was knocked around for nine runs and 16 hits over his previous 92/3 innings.

"Early on, I think some of you guys stressed a little bit [over the results], but it really is getting our work in early on. Not worried about the results, not panicking, but as we do get closer to the season, like we are, for me it is nice to have the results there and to try to keep going now into the season and carry that through," Bergesen said. "I was much more pleased with how I worked my fastball, more down in the zone. When I was missing, I was missing down rather than up, right over the plate. That was positive. The slider wasn't there for me. Need to work on it."

Bergesen, who has a 5.94 ERA this spring, allowed an RBI triple to Ben Zobrist in the third inning and a two-out RBI single to B.J. Upton in the fourth. He threw 74 pitches, 50 for strikes. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wants to see Bergesen get better at finishing hitters off when he has two strikes on them. He struck out one batter Sunday and has seven strikeouts in 162/3 innings this spring.

"He had some counts in his favor and couldn't quite finish it off," Showalter said. "I'd like to see, when he gets himself in some good counts, and not necessarily strikes the guy out, but make quality pitches. There were some firm balls hit off him today. Hopefully, we're getting there. I've seen him more crisp, which is normal. He'll get the ball a couple more times, and we'll see where we are with it."

Wieters' family dealing with tragedy

Maria Wieters, the wife of Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, was involved in an accident Saturday morning that killed a 26-year-old Sarasota man.

According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, motorcyclist Christopher Farr was trying to pass Wieters' Toyota Prius on the left side as she turned off Bee Ridge Road when the two collided. Farr was thrown from the bike and died from the impact, the Florida Highway Patrol told the newspaper. Farr was wearing a helmet, according to the report.

Matt Wieters took part of the team's workout at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Sunday and then went home to be with his wife and family.

Rupe to get longer look?

Right-hander Josh Rupe has been one of camp's biggest surprises this spring, forcing Showalter to look at the 28-year-old in a variety of roles. Rupe, who has surrendered just two unearned runs in 112/3 innings this spring, has pitched one three-inning stint, and Showalter said he could stretch out to four innings by the end of the spring.

"He has stuff that you look at for, not necessarily as a starter, but he's also competing for a job down in the bullpen," Showalter said. "He can make the jump to a four-inning [stint]. It's something that we're going to talk about today and see where we are."

Rupe could pitch in a minor league game Tuesday. In six Grapefruit League outings, he has allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out three.

Rupe pitched 11 games for the Kansas City Royals in 2010, allowing six runs in 92/3 innings (5.59 ERA). He's 5-3 with a 5.00 ERA in 81 career big league appearances.

Short trip for pitchers

Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor continue to take full advantage of the minor league facility at Twin Lakes Park's proximity to the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

Adrian Rosario, Rick VandenHurk, Mark Hendrickson, Clay Rapada, Jeremy Accardo and Jim Johnson threw in minor league games Sunday. Jeremy Guthrie will start against upper-level minor leaguers from the Minnesota Twins' organization Monday, while Koji Uehara will make his return to game action Tuesday against Boston Red Sox minor leaguers.

Showalter said that would allow the team to control the pitch count of Uehara, who hasn't pitched in a Grapefruit League game since Feb. 28 after getting a cortisone shot in his right elbow.

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