Two front-office sources have confirmed the initial report of the Kevin Millwood trade, signalling that Texas and Baltimore may only be an approved medical report away from making things official. The Rangers seem set to send Millwood and cash considerations to the Orioles in exchange for former closer Chris Ray, who is coming off a down year after an elbow injury.
The timetable for the team to review the medical reports is unknown, and it could take as little as a few hours or as much as a few days. Texas will likely be interested in the condition of Ray’s shoulder, which was repaired in 2007 and caused him to miss the 2008 season.
Baltimore, meanwhile, will want to check out the wear-and-tear associated with Millwood’s arm, an appendage that has logged more than 2,000 innings over his career. If everything passes muster, Millwood will give the Orioles another veteran arm at the top of the rotation to help support highly touted youngsters Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz.
— Spencer Fordin
Scratch off one more rehab case. Andy MacPhail, Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, said that rookie starter Brad Bergesen is done for the year. Bergesen had been attempting to return from a bruised left shin but had a prognosis that would keep him out until the final week of the season. Now, Bergesen can rest up and prepare for next season.
— Spencer Fordin
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said that two of his injured pitchers — Koji Uehara and Brad Bergesen — are progressing in their respective rehab stints at the team’s Minor League complex in Sarasota, FL. Uehara will likely be able to throw off the mound in a couple days, while Bergesen is throwing off flat ground and making slow progress.
Bergesen, who was originally slated to be part of the team’s six-man rotation in September, may not be able to return until late in the month. Uehara, meanwhile, is expected back mid-month and will work out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season.
— Spencer Fordin
When Brian Matusz won on Tuesday, he became the fifth Baltimore rookie to win his big-league debut this season, a feat unrivaled in modern baseball history. Only one other team — the 1888 Chicago White Stockings, who later became the Cubs — has managed to equal that achievement, giving the Orioles an interesting footnote in the game’s annals.
Koji Uehara, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken and David Hernandez have also won their debuts this season, and Baltimore had a near-miss in a no-decision for Chris Tillman.
Rookie Matt Wieters, who helped usher Matusz through his debut, had an interesting quip. “That’s when they started baseball,” he said of 1888. “So everybody was debuting.”
Brad Bergesen walked off the field to a huge ovation Tuesday night, courtesy of a Camden Yards crowd eager for good news and good pitching. Bergesen took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and a one-run lead into the sixth before being lifted with two outs.
The right-hander threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 23 batters he faced, with five of them put into play, six on called strikes and one more on a swinging strike. Baltimore scored the game’s final four runs to put things away and salt away Bergesen’s first victory.
Brad Bergesen and Brian Bass both pitched in Minor League games Friday in Fort Myers, experiencing a widely varied amount of success. Bergesen thrived against Boston’s Minor Leaguers, firing six shutout innings, striking out six batters and walking one.
Bass, meanwhile, threw four innings and allowed one earned run. The right-hander walked three batters and gave up three hits but managed to strike out five batters.
Both Bass and Bergesen are trying to make a case to start the year with the big-league club. Bass could make it as a starter or reliever, while Bergesen is only considered as a starter.
Rain scuttled one game of Baltimore’s split-squad on Wednesday, setting up a dilemma for how the Orioles will set up their pitching staff. Baltimore elected to switch Adam Eaton to the other game and push back Hayden Penn and Alfredo Simon to Thursday.
Danys Baez, Thursday’s scheduled starter, was pushed back to Friday. And Brad Bergesen and Brian Bass will now pitch instead in a Minor League game on Friday.
When asked how he would react if the Jupiter game was also rained out, pitching coach Rick Kranitz provided a memorable quip. “You’ll see a grown man cry,” he said.
Manager Dave Trembley had hoped to have some clarification on his rotation by now, but he said Wednesday that his deliberations will go far into the spring. After all, after Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara, the rotation appears to be completely barren.
“At first blush, that’s how it would appear — that there are still no clear frontrunners for anything past Uehara,” said Trembley. “Maybe today Eaton will step up and show that, but I haven’t seen guys step up and say I’m the third, fourth or fifth starter. …We felt like [Rich] Hill was going to get an opportunity, but its March 18 and he hasn’t pitched yet. You’ve got to have other plans. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing with some of these other guys.”