April 2011

Bergesen in limbo

NEW YORK — Tuesday’s rainout further clouded the Orioles’ plans regarding right-handed pitcher Brad Bergesen, who remains in roster limbo while the team tries to shake out what its needs are over the next five games.

Bergesen, who is unofficially with the team in New York, was expected to be activated and make Wednesday’s start at Yankee Stadium, but Tuesday’s postponement pushed back Tuesday’s starter Chris Tillman instead. The Orioles chose to keep Jake Arrieta on turn for Thursday, effectively skipping Bergesen in the rotation.

While the team would prefer to let Bergesen –who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk Saturday – get stretched out and get back in a rhythm by making a start or two at Norfolk they don’t have that luxury. The O’s starting rotation is thin, with both Brian Matusz and Justin Duchscherer on the disabled list, and the team needs a fifth starter for Sunday in Cleveland. If Wednesday’s game is played –there is rain in the forecast as well – the Orioles will likely activate Bergesen and have him in the bullpen in case Tillman gets bounced from the game early.

Given that J.J. Hardy is ticketed for the 15-day DL, the O’s can recall Bergesen without the usual 10-day waiting period because it’s an injury situation. It would also not burn one of his options. If Wednesday’s game is also rained out things could get trickier since it would erase the need for a fifth start for Sunday and buy the team some more time. In that event, the O’s could send Bergesen to Norfolk until the following week –which would exceed the 10-day rule and make him eligible to be recalled whenever – and possibly call up an extra position player in Hardy’s place.

The team would like to add backup catcher Craig Tatum,but the uncertainty in the starting rotation has limited their options and forced the Orioles to carry an extra arm in order to avoid overtaxing the bullpen.

Orioles/Yankees lineups and pregame tidbits

*First, the rain is coming down hard and the forecast doesn’t look good. I will keep you updated on that as best as I can.

*The Orioles roster move will not change if Tuesday’s game is rained out. So Brad Bergsen is expected to remain with the team. Right now, the O’s best option is to have an extra arm over an extra bench guy.

*Brian Matusz threw from 60 feet today in extended spring training with no pain and the plan is for him to possibly rejoin the team at th end of the road trip. In that scenario, he would throw a few side sessions under pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Rick Adair and then go to a few rehab games.

*Justin Duchscherer will have a guided injection in his left hip by Dr. Rozin on Wednesday. The Orioles aren’t going to come right out and say it, but he’s really a ways away.

Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Derrek Lee 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott LF
Adam Jones CF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Matt Wieters C
Robert Andino SS
Chris Tillman RHP

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C

A.J. Burnett RHP

O’s odds and ends

*The Orioles will not make a roster move until Tuesday at the earliest, but J.J. Hardy is headed to the 15-day disabled list and right-handed pitcher Brad Bergesen is the likely candidate to be recalled from Triple-A in his place.

It’s not a done deal with Bergesen –although the O’s will definitely call up a pitcher in Hardy’s spot — but it’s pretty close. The Orioles other option to make Wednesday’s start in New York is Chris Jakubauskas, who last pitched three innings of relief on Saturday night.

*I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the team’s top prospect, shortstop Manny Machado. Machado is hitting .364 in his first four games at Class-A Delmarva and he is expected to move up at least one level this season, possibly more. There is absolutely no talk of him being in Baltimore at any point this season, regardless of injuries at the big-league level.

*Alfredo Simon was medically cleared to start throwing on Wednesday and has been doing some long toss in Sarasota, Fla. Today was scheduled to be his first official day throwing on a mound and the expectation is he will undergo a full spring training of sorts. Simon threw some in the Dominican Republic so that plan could change some depending on how he progresses.

*Matt Hobgood (strained rotator cuff) continues to progress on his throwing program. He has been doing long toss and flat ground and will be reevaluated at the six-week mark. The tentative target for him to get on a mound is June.

MRI on Hardy reveals strain

A magnetic resonance imaging taken Monday on shortstop J.J. Hardy revealed that he has a left oblique strain. That’s what he was initially ruled to have when Hardy exited Saturday’s game as well.

Hardy will be out a minimum of two weeks but it could be three according to Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. They will have to wait and see how the rehab goes. Hardy is expected to report to extended spring training in Saraosta and will get on a progression plan there.

I blogged yesterday about how Hardy could miss a significant amount of time. The average time missed in the Majors for this injury is about a month, but a lot of that depends on the severity of the strain. Judging by what MacPhail said, it doesn’t appear to be that bad.

The O’s could also speed up the process with guided injections. The team should have a better idea of Hardy’s timeline when he starts rehabbing.

In the meantime, the Orioles will go with Robert Andino and Cesar Izturis at shortstop.

Got a question?

I’m working on an Orioles inbox for Monday. So, if you’ve got a question you’d like answered email me at brittany.ghiroli@mlb.com.

Please include your name and hometown for submission. Thanks!

Hardy could miss significant time

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy will undergo an MRI on his left oblique on Monday, although early indications regarding his injury are that he could miss up to six weeks.

Hardy had a conversation Saturday night with his friend Corey Hart, the Brewers outfielder who suffered his own left rib-cage strain and is finally turning the corner. Hardy –who will report to extended spring training on Monday – could miss an extended amount of time.

“It’s not good,” Hart said of Hardy’s diagnosis. “They thought mine was going to be minor, and here we are six weeks later. Maybe I’m not a quick healer. It’s a tough thing — you try to push it and all of a sudden you’re pushed back three days. It’s crazy how everybody is getting them.”

The team will know more regarding Hardy following Monday’s tests. In the meantime, O’s manager Buck Showalter will go with middle infield backup Robert Andino and Cesar Izturis. Hardy’s loss is a big blow for the Orioles, who traded for the shortstop this offseason to provide some extra offense at the bottom of their order. Hardy had a solid spring but had been hampered since Thursday with tightness in his left side.

In six games, he had three hits –all doubles –and two RBIs, scoring four runs and walking twice.

Os pitching for NY

There’s some confusion about the O’s pitching for the New York series next week, so let’s clarify.

Chris Tillman will start Tuesday’s opener. Jake Arrieta will pitch Thursday’s finale, leaving rookie Zach Britton to pitch the first game in the Cleveland series on Friday. The thought is Arrieta has pitched at Yankee Stadium before and Britton –who faced the Yanks several times this spring — would be a better option for next weekend’s opener.

Wednesday’s starter will be either Chris Jakubauskas on three days’ rest or Brad Bergesen, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk yesterday. The team would prefer to let Bergsen get back on track in Norfolk and using Jakubauskas (who threw three innings last night) would be the easier route roster-wise. But that depends on the state of the bullpen among other factors.

If the O’s recall Bergesen they will use the spot freed up by shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is all but headed to the disabled list. Hardy will have an MRI and is expected to join pitcher Brian Matusz in extended spring training on Monday.

If the team goes with Jakubauskas they can call up another reliever or a position player, perhaps another catcher in Craig Tatum.

Jake Arrieta and Jake Fox were clearly not on the same page last night. It was the first time Fox had caught Arrieta, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s also his last.

Orioles/Rangers lineups and tidbits

*Jake Fox will make his second start of the season, and first of the year in 2011 in left field.

*J.J. Hardy will get an MRI on Monday. Like I said last night, expect him to land on the disabled list with Cesar Izturis getting the bulk of the time there. Robert Andino is playing shortstop today.

*Brian Matusz will fly to Sarasota on Monday afternoon to start his progression back in extended spring training.

Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Derrek Lee 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Mark Reynolds 3B
Adam Jones CF
Jake Fox LF
Matt Wieters C
Robert Andino SS

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

Ian Kinsler 2B
Michael Young DH
Josh Hamilton LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Nelson Cruz RF
Mitch Moreland 1B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Andres Blanco SS
Julio Borbon CF

Derek Holland SP

Britton stat

As you probably know by now, Zach Britton has allowed just one run total in his first two Major League starts. Britton held the Rangers scoreless in 7 2/3 innings tonight.

This stat comes to you courtesy of the Orioles pr staff….

According to Elias, the last Orioles starting pitcher to allow one or no runs in his first two Major League appearances and pitch at least 13 2/3 total innings in those starts was Tom Phoebus in September 1966 (18 innings, 0 runs allowed over first two starts).

Hardy exits

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy exited Saturday night’s game after two innings with a strained left oblique muscle, an injury that could be a major blow to the O’s infield should it require a trip to the disabled list.

Hardy has been sidelined with left side tightness and Saturday’s second game of the doubleheader marked his first start since Wednesday.

He was a late scratch on Thursday night after experiencing some discomfort in his side during pregame batting practice and the team had chosen to take a cautious approach given that Hardy had never had pain in his side before. Hardy said Friday that he only felt the injury when swinging full bore and he exited Saturday’s game after one at-bat, in which he struck out looking off Rangers starter Matt Harrison.

In Hardy’s place on Saturday, Robert Andino shifted from left field to shortstop and Felix Pie entered the game in Andino’s spot.