Results tagged ‘ Jason Berken ’

Mata to Triple-A, Berken reinstated

The Orioles made a pair of roster moves official on Thursday, reinstating reliever Jason Berken from the 60-day disabled list and outrighting reliever Frank Mata to Triple-A Norfolk.

The club announced the 26-year-old Mata cleared waivers, thus removing him from the team’s 40-man spot and adding Berken. Mata made his Major League debut on May 26 and pitched to a 7.79 ERA (17.1IP, 15ER) in 15 games with the Orioles.
 
A pleasant surprise for the Os, Berken posted a 1.95 ERA before the All-Star break, holding opponents to a .235 average in his first 32 career games out of the bullpen. But he posted a 7.71 ERA in nine games after the break, prompting the Orioles to check out his right shoulder, where they discovered a labrum tear.

Berken chose to forgo surgery and is optimistic that his offseason rehab regimen will get him back on track in time for Spring Training.

***
And in a sad bit of baseball news, Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson passed away earlier this afternoon. Keep his family in your thoughts.

Orioles/White Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*Jason Berken’s second opinion in New York today revealed the same thing as his first MRI, which is a good thing. Berken won’t need surgery and the hope right now is he can rehab and rest his right labrum and be ready to go for next spring. 

*Jim Johnson (right elbow inflammation) threw two scoreless innings for Double-A Bowie on Tuesday afternoon, allowing one hit and striking out three. Johnson will take two days off before the Orioles decide the next step. He could be activated for this weekend’s series in Anaheim (which starts Friday) but a lot of that will depend on how he feels after this outing.  

ORIOLES LINEUP:

Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Cesar Izturis SS
Josh Bell 3B

RHP Jeremy Guthrie

WHITE SOX LINEUP:
Juan Pierre LF
Omar Vizquel 3B
Alex Rios CF
Paul Konerko 1B
Carlos Quentin RF
A.J. Pierzynski C
Alexei Ramirez SS
Mark Teahen DH
Gordon Beckham 2B

RHP Gavin Floyd

Berken to get MRI Monday

Struggling reliever Jason Berken hasn’t been responding to treatment for right shoulder soreness and will undergo an MRI Monday afternoon in Baltimore.

Berken said he’s been getting treatment for his shoulder –which is chronically sore — all season, but in the last week or so the treatment hasn’t been making him feel any better. The test is a precautionary move, and the Orioles are hoping Berken’s ineffectiveness is just overuse in his first year out of the ‘pen.

When asked if they would consider shutting down Berken even if the MRI comes back clean, Orioles manager  Buck Showalter wasn’t sure and said they would cross that bridge when they come to it. They are hoping the test will provide a little “peace of mind” for Berken, who has 13 earned runs in his last 17 1/3 innings.  

Backing off Berken

The Orioles will try to back off right-hander Jason Berken for the next day or two to give the struggling reliever -who has thrown an American League-leading 60 1/3 innings — a much-needed break.

Manager Buck Showalter said the hope is that resting Berken will “freshen him up a little bit”, and he has talked with pitching coach Rick Kranitz about monitoring Berken’s second-half innings.

A former starter who made his first Opening Day roster as the team’s long man, Berken’s emergence has been one of this season’s biggest surprises. But after allowing just eight earned runs over 45 innings in his first 27 games, Berken’s effectiveness has waned, giving way to 13 runs in his last 16 2/3 innings.

Berken, who was conferring with Kranitz on Sunday morning, said he’s rushing his delivery a little bit and the deception on his pitches isn’t as sharp as earlier in the year.

“[I'm] trying to do too much with the pitch, trying to make it break more than what it is,” said Berken, who allowed two earned runs over 1 1/3 innings on Saturday night, and was charged with the loss.  “With me, it seems like when I try to do less I get better results, so it’s trying to stay within myself and making my delivery compact and easy.”

Given that it’s a minor adjustment, Berken said he’s not in panic mode and just needs to go after opposing batters a little more aggressively, to stay out of favorable hitting counts.  He’s walked five batters in his last eight outings, after issuing just 14 free passes in his previous 32.  Following Friday’s two-out walk to Alexei Ramirez, who scored on the following double, Berken called his lack of location “not acceptable” and was more upset about the free pass than the hits.

Orioles/Royals lineups and tibdits

*Buck Showalter called soon to be ex-interim manager Juan Samuel today to tell him how much he’d like Juan to stay on board.  Samuel said he will meet with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail when the team returns on Monday to discuss his future. Samuel has been offered back his third base job, but he acknowledged on Thursday it would be awkward to go back to that spot, particularly since he has never met or worked with Showalter. The sentiment is Samuel likely won’t stay (although the rest of the coaching staf will stay in place until the season ends.)
*Jason Berken hasn’t pitched since July 24, but interim manager Juan Samuel said there’s not to worry about.
“He is ready to pitch when we need him,” Samuel said.  We just wanted to give him some time off.”
*Nick Markakis is batting second now that Miguel Tejada is officially a Padre. Josh Bell is here but he can’t play until tomorrow due to the 10-day rule when you get optioned down. So the O’s will play with a short bench, consisting of backup catcher Jake Fox and Julio Lugo tonight.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Luke Scott 1B
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Corey Patterson DH
Cesar Izturis SS
Jake Arrieta RHP

ROYALS LINEUP:
Chris Getz 2B
Jason Kendall C
Billy Butler 1B
Jose Guillen DH
Rick Ankiel CF
Wilson Betemit 3B
Alex Gordon LF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Mitch Maier RF
Sean O’Sullivan RHP

Os/Twins series opener and tidbits

*Brian Roberts was here and spoke to several reporters today about the ongoing speculation concerning his return. B-Rob has been pushing to come back and I’d be shocked if he wasn’t activated this weekend, probably even for Friday. As for the Toronto turf, he said it wasn’t that big of a deal as people make it, and was confident his back would hold up.
*Who goes for Roberts? Julio Lugo is the team’s only backup shortstop, a fact interim manager Juan Samuel confirmed prior to Thursday’s game. That pretty much puts the nail in the coffin for Scott Moore, who is out of options and will have to clear waivers first.
*Matt Wieters was out running the bases and still expects to be activated and ready for Sunday. Samuel said the other day he would probably insert Wieters right back into the lineup. With Craig Tatum playing so well and Jake Fox able to play multiple positions, who goes on this move is a much tougher call. I know Tatum is out of options, while Fox would have to clear waivers and might not make it through. Samuel said he wasn’t sure if the team can afford to carry three catchers. So stay tuned on that one.
*The Orioles would like to limit the second-half use of first-time relievers Jason Berken and David Hernandez. Particularly with Berken, –who ate up a lot of innings in the first half as the long man — the concern will be keeping them healthy and effective. Of course, a lot of this plan relies on the starters going more than 3 or 4 innings.
 

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Felix Pie LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Scott Moore 2B
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis SS
Kevin Millwood RHP

TWINS LINEUP:
Denard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Joe Mauer DH
Jason Kubel RF
Michael Cuddyer 1B
Delmon Young LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Punto 3B
Drew Butera C
Carl Pavano RHP

Tillman on track for Saturday

A lot can change, but it appears Chris Tillman will make Saturday’s start in Texas. Given the Orioles overused bullpen the first two games in Detroit, using long man Mark Hendrickson would leave only one long man, Jason Berken for a four-game set against a lethal Rangers lineup.

Tillman is already on track to make that start for Norfolk, so he would be able to stay on schedule. Plus, it would afford the Orioles a full bullpen to work with. In three starts since his demotion, Tillman is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA and
has allowed just 10 hits and five walks while striking out 13 in 21 2/3
innings. He’s dominated at Triple-A and would learn more –not to mention be significantly challenged — at the Major League level.

“He’s [scheduled to pitch] right on that day. It makes sense,” pitching coach Rick Kranitz said of tabbing Tillman for Saturday. “We need some length in the bullpen is what we need, we pushed Berken and [David] Hernandez back, to the end of the game, and if Hendrickson then becomes a starter we don’t have a lot of length. It makes more sense that he would come up and pitch for us.”

While Tillman has struggled in the big leagues this season, going 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in four starts, Kranitz isn’t worried about him losing confidence.

“I think the experience is invaluable,” Kranitz said of bringing up young guys like current O’s starter Jake
Arrieta
and Tillman rather than letting them dominate for Norfolk.
“Obviously you don’t want them to get beat up [in the Majors] but you
got to be a tough guy up here.”

“I’ve seen it before, guys will go down [to Triple-A] and pitch pretty well and come up and maybe scuffle a little bit. But that’s part of the process. [Tillman] will put it together, it’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later hes going to come up here and its going to click. And he will say, ‘Ok, I don’t have to give these guys as much credit as I have.'”

Heaping praise for Hendrickson

The Orioles did all the little things right in Tuesday’s win and got two solid innings of middle relief from big lefty Mark Hendrickson. In the wake of injuries to reliever Koji Uehara and closer Alfredo Simon, manager Dave Trembley told Hendrickson -typically the team’s long man – that he will be now be used in the later innings as well.

“He came to [pitching coach Rick] Kranitz before the game today and said, ‘With [Simon] being out, does my role change?’ And we told him, ‘Yeah, you’ll probably be used later in the game.'” Trembley said.  “And he said, ‘OK, I’m ready for it.’ He did a real nice job. The ball was down, he had good two-seam and he had good extension on his pitches.”
“That’s the best Hendrickson has pitched all year.”

The guy nicknamed Big Smooth by his teammates seemed to cruise through his two scoreless innings, throwing 21 pitches (14 for strikes) and allowing just one hit.
“I’m not going to lie. I loved the situation. I loved the opportunity to come in with the lead late in the game,” Hendrickson said. “I think I just tried to pitch accordingly.”

“If you look at the way I came in and the way Will [Ohman] came in, it seemed like we were just coming in being aggressive, trusting our stuff and accomplishing some zeroes after we had taken the lead. That’s important and that’s something we really haven’t done a good job of. I think tonight we excelled in pretty much every facet, which is nice to see.”

Given that Orioles bullpen now consists of Frank Mata, who is in the big leagues for the first time, and David Hernandez (who has never been a reliever) having a seasoned guy like Hendrickson is a big boost. I know in talking to Jason Berken earlier this season that Hendrickson has been extremely helpful in his successful transition to the ‘pen.

Hopefully, Hendrickson can continue to help the young guys and build on outings like Tuesday.

A few mini tidbits

*Kevin Millwood’s ride-along with the Baltimore police on Wednesday afternoon will be televised on MASN’s pregame show Friday. Millwood said if he wasn’t a baseball player he wanted to be a cop, so the team arranged the ride-along.
*Orioles prospects Zach Britton and Caleb Joseph were on hand for Thursday’s game. Britton was a guest on the MASN pregame show, while Joseph joked he was Britton’s bodyguard for the night.
*Rhyne Hughes set an Orioles franchise record by hitting safely and recording an RBI in his first three Major League games. After sitting against tough left CC Sabathia, he was back in Thursday’s lineup.
*Jason Berken is third in the American League in lowest opponets’ batting average against lefties (minimum of 20 batters faced) at .091. He trails only Boston’s Daniel Bard (.080) and Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano (.087)
*Prior to Friday night’s game, Miguel Tejada will present Project Medishare with a check for $25,000 from the Orioles Charitable Foundation to assist in their Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Dr. Barth Green -who is expected to be in attendance for the ceremony– and Dr. Arthur Fournier founded Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc. in 1994.  Tejada is also going to donate money for each hit and homer he collects this season, although they haven’t determined exactly what amount that will be.

Where's Jason Berken been?

 

Well if they Orioles had tied the game last night, Jason Berken would have been in the game. Manager Dave Trembely had Berken warming up in the ninth inning in case that scenario became a reality, but the Orioles fell just short of a full comeback.

Berken who last pitched Monday in Seattle, is one of the most rested arms in the Orioles beleaguered bullpen. Prior to Monday, his last outing was April 14. But his minimal usage has been more of a result of the team’s good starting pitching, rather than Berken’s performance.

In his first season in the long relief role, Berken has allowed just two earned runs in four games, sporting a 1.50 ERA.

“I think coming to the field every day thinking I have a chance to pitch is a good thing for me,” Berken said.  “Overall, I feel like it’s been good [in the bullpen].

“One thing I’ve noticed, and Mark [Hendrickson] has talked to me about it, when I’m getting ready as a starter I tend to analyze my pitches a little more because I have more time to think about it. When I’m in the ‘pen, It’s kind of you are just trying to get loose you don’t really analyze your pitches or your location more or less, you are just trying to get loose and get in there.”

Berken’s longest outing has been a five-inning stint following  Brad Bergesen’s start on April 14 against Tampa Bay. He estimated he’s stretched out about to about 75 pitches, and if Bergesen fails to get back on track, Berken is a candidate to make a spot start May 1.

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said Berken and Hendrickson are both options to get Saturday’s start, although the team would prefer to have Bergesen get on track and leave the pair of long men in the ‘pen.  Hendrickson and Berken have been the Orioles most consistent relievers and Trembley is hesitant to tinker with that.

“My choice has always been if you have someone who is doing well in an area, leave him alone, leave him there, don’t put him in another spot where you are unsure what he’ll do,” Trembley said.  But if the need arises and [Berken] would have to do it I am sure he would give you what he has, he’s that kind of guy. I would prefer to leave him where he is.”

A converted starter who pitched several times in relief this spring, Berekn made the Opening Day roster as the team’s second long man, and has said all along that he’s happy to fill any role.

“It’s clichéd but whatever they want me to do ill do,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the pen so far and if that’s where they need me, that’s fine with me.”

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