Viola will replace Bergesen (officially)

I wrote in my last entry that Brad Bergesen didn’t look like a pitcher who had saved his spot in the rotation. The frustration was written all over his face as he stood on the mound, waiting for manager Buck Showalter to take the ball.

Bergesen obviously knew what was coming, and it wasn’t just his manager.

The Orioles sent out a press release at 3:15 a.m. announcing that Bergesen was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

Left-hander Pedro Viola is in Oakland and will be officially recalled before today’s game.

Bergesen allowed three runs (two earned) and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in last night’s 4-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He fell to 1-6 with a 5.36 ERA in 10 games, including nine starts, and has hopped back on the shuttle to Norfolk.

Bergesen has surrendered 30 earned runs and 58 hits, with 15 walks, in 50 1/3 innings.

The Orioles could have chosen to use Bergesen in a long relief role, but they’d rather have him start every five days with the Tides.

Viola’s stay with the Orioles could be brief. He’s a prime candidate to be optioned when left-hander Brian Matusz comes off the disabled list on Wednesday.

Chris Tillman beat out Bergesen for a rotation spot, though he doesn’t have a firm hold on it. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer in five of his last six starts, but high pitch counts remain an issue, He’s completed six innings in only one of his last six outings.

TIllman and Bergesen each threw 102 pitches in their last starts, but Tillman was removed from Friday night’s game after 4 1/3 innings.

Update: The Orioles announced the Viola move at 11:48 a.m. At least I was awake for this one. Much appreciated here on the East Coast.

Viola, 27, was 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 17 games and 20 innings with Double-A Bowie. Left-handers were hitting .207 (6-for-29) against him.

Viola allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings with the Orioles last September. He’s wearing No. 47.

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