Brad Bergesen will be promoted from Triple-A Norfolk to join Baltimore's starting rotation on Tuesday, beginning a process that the Orioles hope will fill their staff with homegrown arms. Bergesen, the team's Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, is expected to get an extended audition.
"I think it's a real exciting time for him and for everyone associated with the Orioles," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "Here's a guy who has come up through the system at every level and made a good showing in Spring Training. He's coming off a good start in his last one at Triple-A. The White Sox are a hot club. They played very well against Tampa Bay, so it will be a challenge for him, but it will be exciting for him."
The Orioles optioned Radhames Liz to Triple-A Norfolk after Monday's game to make room for Bergesen, but he owes his rotation slot to an injury. Alfredo Simon injured his right elbow earlier this season and is expected to miss a month or more. And Bergesen, who made a strong showing in Spring Training, is the most polished prospect in the organization.
The right-hander went 15-6 with a 3.22 ERA for Double-A Bowie last season, finishing first in the Eastern League in wins and complete games (three) and sixth in ERA. Bergesen is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA for Norfolk this season, and he went five innings against Durham in his last start, striking out six batters and only walking one.
When asked if he sees Bergesen serving as a patch or staying long-term, Trembley was at a loss.
"I really don't know what to say to that, other than the fact that he's taking Simon's place in the rotation," he said. "I would think he would have the opportunity to show what he can do. But I don't think it's a tryout tomorrow."
And while Bergesen is ready, the Orioles have a whole host of arms stacked up behind him. Baltimore has Chris Tillman and David Hernandez at Norfolk and Jake Arrieta and Troy Patton at Bowie. Last year's first-round Draft pick Brian Matusz is beginning the season at Class A Frederick, but will likely spend much of the year at Bowie.
The Orioles, who struggled through the series in Boston and will return home with a five-game losing streak, have plenty of things to look forward to. And if Trembley has his say, that will all begin on Tuesday.
"It would've been good to get this one today and to go home with a win to end the road trip. It didn't happen," he said. "[There's] not much you can do about it now. We'll go home tomorrow and we'll be ready to play. It will be exciting. Bergesen will make his first start, and we'll regroup and have our guys ready to play."Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Brad Bergesen (Big league debut)
Bergesen will make his Major League debut in the series opener against the White Sox and could be in the rotation for an extended period of time. The right-handed rookie is replacing Simon, who is expected to be out for a month or more with an elbow injury. Bergesen is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk. CWS: RHP Jose Contreras (0-2, 6.97 ERA)
The final numbers over 5 1/3 innings might not indicate a solid start for the veteran right-hander in Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, but Contreras definitely took a step up from his first trip to the mound this season. Contreras pitched four scoreless innings before giving up two runs in the fifth via a two-out single from Placido Polanco on a 1-2 pitch, and then was charged with three more in the sixth, although only four of the five runs were earned. Bird bites
Baltimore's five-game losing streak is the longest since a 10-game skid last September. ... The Orioles have been outscored 49-20 in their last five games, but that margin is skewed by a 19-6 loss to Texas and a 12-1 defeat in Boston. ... Ryan Freel left Monday's game after getting hit in the head with a pickoff throw. He got a CT scan at a local hospital and is expected to stay the night in Boston and rejoin his team Tuesday. ... The Orioles have beaten the White Sox in the season series just once since 1999 and are 20-31 against Chicago in the last six seasons. Tickets
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Wednesday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 2-0, 4.32) vs. White Sox (John Danks, 1-0, 0.75), 7:05 p.m. ET
Thursday: Orioles (Adam Eaton, 0-2, 11.25) vs. White Sox (Bartolo Colon, 1-0, 3.86), 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday: Orioles (Koji Uehara, 2-1, 5.29) vs. Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 1-1, 1.17), 7:05 p.m. ET
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less