Bergesen needs to be brilliant

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Is this a big start for Brad Bergesen?

Is Florida full of palm trees, geckos and strip malls?

Bergesen hasn't been named to the starting rotation. We're only sure that Jeremy Guthrie is pitching in the April 1 opener and Brian Matusz will take the ball on the following night.

Manager Buck Showalter hasn't officially named Jake Arrieta as the No. 4 starter, but he's come close enough that we know it's going to happen. We can read him like a book, which isn't nearly as much fun as a Men's Journal article.

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That leaves a No. 3 starter until the Orioles need a No. 5 on April 10. Justin Duchscherer is targeting April 21 for his return.

Where does Bergesen fit into the pitcher picture?

He could be the third starter, or he could be a reliever until getting the April 10 assignment. Showalter suggested that he might pull someone out of the 'pen for that start.

Bergesen also could be optioned, and that would be a right cross to the jaw, considering that Duchscherer and Zach Britton aren't part of this equation (That's assuming Britton is optioned at the end of camp, and we're all assuming it here.)

This is a huge start for Bergesen.

Like so many other pitchers in camp, Bergesen is still trying to find his rhythm on the mound, still making adjustments. Usually, the last start is a cool down before the regular season, but Bergesen hasn't gone more than five innings, Brian Matusz hasn't gone more than 4 2/3, Chris Tillman hasn't gone more than four in a major league game.

Time to dial it up.

Bergesen has allowed 11 earned runs (12 total) and 24 hits in 14 2/3 innings over his last four starts, with six walks and five strikeouts.

With his status up in the air, Bergesen needs the Twins to keep the ball on the ground today.

Big start. Huge.

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