Brad Bergesen: Mr. Versatility

Brad Bergesen hopes he can use his spot start tonight to continue the O's momentum.

As Brad Bergesen takes the mound at Camden Yards for his first game in this 2011 season, he is riding upon a wave of a 4-0 Baltimore Orioles team to start the season. As the Orioles have lost three starting pitchers to injury and illness, Bergesen will have the opportunity to spot start to help continue both the team winning streak and the quality starts so far this season. After a subpar Spring Training, Bergesen was relegated to the bullpen as the second long reliever along with fellow Oriole Jason Berken. As Bergesen is a part of the bullpen for the time being, don't be so quick to dismiss his versatility in the pitching staff.

Bergesen started his rookie season in 2009 and showed a lot of promise as a starter, only to be shut down for the season on July 30th after being struck in his shin by Kansas City Royals Billy Butler. Despite the early departure, he was topic of discussion among Orioles fans who wondered as to what kind of pitcher Bergesen would be. One year wonder? A workhorse veteran? No matter what people thought, Bergesen had people curious as to what he could do for a team that struggled to find quality and durable pitching over the past decade.

However, a freak accident on a film set of a commercial promoting the 2010 season in December of 2009. Bergesen strained his pitching shoulder when throwing pitches for a spot that resulted in limited action at the beginning of training camp. The injury was considered by many to be the reason for Bergesen's set back during the 2010 season as he completed the season 8-12 with a 4.98 ERA. That was the bad news, but the good news is that Orioles manager Buck Showalter might have been an excellent influence on Bergesen. From April until July 2010, Bergesen was 3-9 with a 6.63 ERA with an average of 5 innings per start. After Showalter's arrival, Bergesen sharply improved with a 5-3 W/L with a 2.88 ERA with 6.2 innings per start and also pitched two complete games during that time frame.

Bergesen's biggest strength is his deceptive sinkerball that goes low in the strike zone and tops out at 92 MPH and could also force more ground outs and double plays. His changeup is also a plus with good movement as well. Bergesen is not known as a power pitcher that will strike batters out on a constant basis or give you 200 innings a season, but he does have above average command on his pitches.

As he continues to bounce back from his overall mediocre 2010 season, Bergesen will continue to provide flexibility to the Orioles pitching staff that already has three starting pitchers on the mend Justin Duchscherer and Brian Matusz out with injuries for at least another month and Jeremy Guthrie currently out with an illness. With Zach Britton taking Matusz's place in the rotation for the time being, there are no other starters in the AAA affiliate that is currently ready to be called up to take a start in case another starter goes down. In the meantime Bergesen will need to prove to Showalter and the Orioles fans who are hoping that Bergesen return to his 2009 form.

2011 Projected Stats: 5-4 W/L, 3.50 ERA


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