Berken optioned, Simon to be activated

Seeking to bolster a depleted bullpen, the Orioles optioned struggling right-handed reliever Jason Berken to Triple-A Norfolk following Friday’s 17-5 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Berken has allowed 15 runs (14 earned) in his last 8 2/3 innings, surrendering 22 hits and eight walks over that stretch.

He entered Friday’s game with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and hit Jayson Werth with his first pitch to score a run. It was an ominous start for Berken, who allowed six earned runs on five hits and a walk, with both Roger Bernadina and Jayson Berth homering in the process.

Following Wednesday’s 15-inning loss, the Orioles have had consecutive starts of less than four innings and have been forced to dip into their bullpen at an alarming rate. While Berken is hardly the only reliever struggling, he does have an option remaining, meaning he won’t have to clear waivers to go to Norfolk.

The corresponding roster move will be officially announced Saturday, although Alfredo Simon –who was scheduled to be added from the restricted list to the 25-man roster on Sunday – is now expected to be added a day early. The Orioles will have to make a move to add Simon to the 40-man roster, with the most obvious choice transferring Cesar Izturis from the 15 to the 60-day disabled list.

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