Anticipation builds with Berken's callup

Anticipation builds with Berken's callup

BALTIMORE -- It's not a move out of desperation, and it's not a game of prospect roulette. When the Orioles promote Jason Berken to make his Major League debut on Tuesday, they'll be calling up their hottest pitching prospect. Berken, though not the team's most recognizable prospect, appears to be the most prepared to pitch now.

And more to the point, Berken isn't a pitcher who will be cowed by the Major League spotlight. The former sixth-round Draft pick out of Clemson has steadily climbed the organizational ladder to put himself in position. And despite not spending Spring Training with the parent club, he's already made a big impression.

"I think we have more depth now. We have more choices," said manager Dave Trembley of Baltimore's pitching inventory. "Obviously, the system has more people in it, more guys are closer. I think it's a credit to player development and to scouting, to the individual players who have stepped up. Obviously, there are certain guys who are not coming -- and I think we all know who those guys are -- because we're still trying to give them time."

By saying that, Trembley was referring to Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta, the team's triumvirate of top caliber arms. Baltimore is hoping to take it slow with these prospects and not bring them to the Majors until they're as prepared as they possibly can be, which gives first opportunity to some arms flying under the radar.

In this case, that means Berken. And in the near future, it could mean David Hernandez or Troy Patton. Brad Bergesen is already ensconced in the rotation, and the Orioles have room for more pitchers like him. They're looking for maturity and the ability to handle adversity without going into a shell.

"I think Andy [MacPhail] says it," said Trembley of the team's president of baseball operations. "We're trying to stockpile guys who can pitch in the big leagues. You can never have enough of them. I think we're starting to turn the corner now and are providing opportunities to guys that we think are ready physically and mentally."

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Jason Berken (Big league debut)
The Orioles will promote Berken to make his Major League debut, filling in for recently released veteran Adam Eaton. Berken has been impeccable at Triple-A Norfolk, notching a 2-0 record and a 1.05 ERA in his first five outings. Berken, a former sixth-round Draft pick out of Clemson, spent Spring Training at the team's Minor League facility and was promoted to Norfolk after Bergesen was tabbed to join the big league rotation.

TOR: LHP Ricky Romero (2-0, 1.71 ERA)
Romero returns to the Blue Jays' rotation after making a full recovery from the strained right oblique that sent him to the disabled list in April. The left-hander entered the season as Toronto's No. 4 starter and was impressive in his first three career starts, during which he struck out 13 and walked four over 21 innings. In three Minor League outings since the injury, Romero went a combined 0-1 with a 6.91 ERA between stints at three different levels.

Bird bites
The Orioles improved to 12-11 at home and 10-6 in series openers with their victory over the Blue Jays on Monday. ... Second baseman Brian Roberts left Monday's game early with a contusion to his left shin. Roberts is listed as day-to-day. ... Designated hitter Luke Scott was expected to begin a two-game rehab assignment Monday. If all goes well, Scott should be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday. ... Baltimore has tripled in three straight games, a feat it hadn't achieved in nearly four years. ... The Orioles are 6-14 when their opponent scores first.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Orioles (Rich Hill, 1-0, 3.18) vs. Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 8-1, 2.52), 1:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Orioles (Koji Uehara, 2-3, 4.09) vs. Tigers (Armando Galarraga, 3-4, 5.74) 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 1-2, 5.49) vs. Tigers (Dontrelle Willis, 1-1, 3.57), 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.