What do you do with Jason Berken's rotation spot?
After Monday’s game, Orioles lefty Rich Hill said he has been dealing with tendinitis in his shoulder for much of the season.
So it looks like there is no mystery as to what’s going to happen when top prospect Chris Tillman gets promoted to pitch Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals.
Hill likely will go on the disabled list. Who knows if he’ll pitch in the big leagues again this year? Certainly, they could stash him away at least until September call-ups.
The club could still designate him and try to get him through waivers. But the DL is the safe bet.
So Jason Berken’s chances of staying around beyond Tuesday have improved dramatically.
But here’s a question: What if Berken struggles again Tuesday against the lowly Royals? He is 1-8 with a 6.55 ERA. He hasn’t won since his big-league debut.
He’s only 25 and wasn’t supposed to be in the majors this quickly anyway. Heck, he wasn’t even invited to big-league spring training.
The guy has a lot of moxie. But, if he keeps losing, he might be better off going back down to Triple-A where he can get some success again before returning in September.
The question is who would replace him in the rotation? The answer isn’t Brian Matusz, even though you would love it and he is tearing up Double-A.
Andy MacPhail has been adamant about the schedule Matusz is on, and it doesn’t include the majors in 2009. So put that thought away.
Jake Arrieta is a possibility, but he’s made just nine Triple-A starts (3-4, 4.34 ERA). Troy Patton (1-3, 6.00 ERA in seven starts) has struggled at Norfolk.
They could always bring up someone who is not considered a future mainstay such as Andy Mitchell (9-2, 3.82), David Pauley (7-9, 4.08) or Chris Waters (8-4, 4.55). Or they could move a big-league reliever – Mark Hendrickson, Brian Bass or Matt Albers – to the rotation.
Or they could do nothing, and keep trotting out Berken, and let him learn on the job.
Daily Think Special: What do you do with Jason Berken’s rotation spot?