By Dan Connolly
5:23 PM EDT, March 26, 2012
BRADENTON, Fla. – The Orioles roster thinned out a little Monday, with several players being sent out of camp including right-hander Brad Bergesen, who pitched in 34 games with the Orioles last year.
The Orioles have not yet announced the cuts, but they also include infielder Steve Tolleson, outfielder Scott Beerer and catcher John Hester – all non-roster invitees – who were sent to minor-league camp.
Bergesen was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to be a starter. Also optioned to Triple-A Norfolk were pitcher Jason Berken, who made his spring debut Sunday after dealing with a hamstring issue, and Matt Antonelli, who batted .194 in 31 at-bats this spring.
Also, lefty Dontrelle Willis, who signed to be a reliever last week, was sent to minor-league camp and Brian Roberts (concussion) and Zach Britton (shoulder) were officially placed on the disabled list.Tonight, pitcher Armando Galarraga joined the list of players optioned to the minors.
Bergesen, who was considered in competition for a long relief or starting role, was 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA in five games this spring, all out of the bullpen. He allowed 12 hits, five walks and two hit batters while striking out seven.
“I was a little surprised by it,” Bergesen said. “But they told me they wanted me to get innings in and be a starting option. They want me to go down (to Norfolk) and start.”
Because he had a minor-league option remaining, and several other pitchers didn’t, Bergesen seemed like he could be a roster casualty entering spring.
“That’s obviously part of it. You can see the numbers. I’m definitely not making any excuses,” he said. “Sometimes it is good to have options, sometimes it is not good to have options.”Bergesen will pitch in a minor-league game for the Orioles on Tuesday.
He lost his arbitration case in the winter, but will still make $800,000 this year to be a rotation insurance policy in Norfolk.
Last season, Bergesen was 2-7 with a 5.70 ERA in 34 games, 12 starts. He has pitched 83 games with the Orioles in parts of three seasons, compiling a 17-24 record and a 4.68 ERA. This is the last year he will have a minor-league option.
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