With Robert Andino on the paternity leave list, the Orioles have added Jason Berken from Triple-A Norfolk and the right-hander that pitched in 105 games over the last three seasons was today back in the Orioles clubhouse.
“I’m excited,” Berken said. “I was fortunate to pitch pretty well in Triple-A and I’m excited about doing the same here. It’s just great to see all the guys, that is the biggest thing. You miss your teammates and getting a chance to see these guys again is exciting.”
Berken missed some time during spring training with a left hamstring injury but was off to a good start with Norfolk, allowing just one earned run over three starts and 15 innings.
“I felt like I fell behind in spring training and my spring kind of started when the season started,” he said. “I got my innings in and the last time out I threw six. Getting a chance to start was good and I got into a routine. Overall, getting more innings and things went well.”
Berken was 0-0 with an ERA of 0.60 for Norfolk with four walks, 10 strikeouts and a .263 batting average against.
He was asked what role he expects to have with the Orioles for however long he is here.
“I know I’ll be in the ‘pen,” Berken said. “I’m just here to pitch whether it’s one or five or whatever. I don’t care, just excited to get the chance to pitch here again.”
Berken said he was able to use a pitch during his first three starts with the Tides this year that he hadn’t used much here with the Orioles as a reliever.
“I got my changeup going,” he said. “In the past, when pitching out of the ‘pen, I kind of abandoned the pitch a little bit because I was only coming in for an inning or two. I was able to get my slider going the last couple of years but being able to throw that changeup was a big difference for me. Kind of keeps them off my fastball and slider.
“Also, confidence goes a long way too. I was able to start well and you kind of build off that. I’m throwing good sides in between working on stuff. I feel like I’m throwing all my pitches for strikes.
“Getting a chance to start again was awesome. It’s something I’d like to do again. Pitching in Triple-A was great, it went well, but I’d rather pitch up here any way I can.”
Berken knows he could be headed right back to Triple-A when Andino returns to the club in the next day or two, but for now, he is not thinking about that.
“I don’t worry about it,” Berken said. “I’m just excited to be back. Any opportunity I get to pitch I’m going to try and take full advantage of it. Time-wise, I don’t worry about that stuff.”