Bergesen waits to learn his fate

If anyone asks which one of my blog entries has attracted the most comments, I’ll just refer back to yesterday. The total has climbed to a dizzying 592, which shatters the previous record of ... I have no idea. But I know that it’s destroyed.

The Orioles must decide Monday whether to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. One name fell off the list when they designated reliever Willie Eyre for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster for new pitcher Dana Eveland.

Brad Bergesen appears on another list - among the possible non-tenders. He made $434,000 last season, and MLBTradeRumors projected that his salary will jump to $1.4 million.

Bergesen achieved Super Two status, which allowed him to earn an extra year of arbitration. The first one comes after he went 2-7 with a 5.70 ERA and 1.495 WHIP in 34 games, including 12 starts, covering 101 innings.

The Orioles must decide whether to offer him a contract and risk a possible arbitration hearing, or non-tender him and either negotiate another deal or let him walk as a free agent. He’s out of minor league options and would have to pass through waivers before being sent down.

Bergesen told me yesterday that he still didn’t know what the Orioles intended to do with him. In the meantime, he braced for the possibility of a trade during the Winter Meetings after reading a report that his name came up in discussions. Executive vice president Dan Duquette left Dallas with Bergesen still on the roster.

“I haven’t talked to anyone,” he said. “I have no idea. I don’t know what the plan is. I don’t know how they view me or if I fit in their plans. All I can do is prepare myself and be ready for whatever comes my way.

“I love Baltimore. That’s where my whole career has been and where my wife is from. It’s definitely a special place in my heart. But that’s the unknown. You just don’t know where you’re going to be or what’s going to happen. It can all change in a matter of a few hours.”

Bergesen was 2-7 with a 5.78 ERA in 12 starts this year, and he posted a 5.59 ERA in 22 relief appearances. However, he had a 3.24 ERA in eight August games.

Bergesen’s season included a demotion to Triple-A Norfolk, where he went 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts.

You won’t find Bergesen’s name in most projections for the Orioles’ 2012 rotation, but he’ll prepare this winter as if he’s a starter and adjust to whatever role he’s given.

“I don’t know what they have in mind for me,” he said. “I hope I get a chance and get a good opportunity and can take advantage. Whatever they have in mind, I’ll be ready for it.”

Bergesen will begin throwing on Monday.

“As far as lifting and training and working out and running - all the preparation that goes into it - it’s been going on since the middle to end of October,” he said.

Bergesen’s throwing program will begin with a progression that takes him to 120 feet as he gradually stretches out. By the end of December or beginning of January, he’ll step on a mound for the first time and throw some light bullpen sessions.

He’ll know on Monday whether he’s doing all of this work for the Orioles.

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