ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 21: Brad Bergesen #35 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the seventh inning of the game at Angel Stadium on August 21, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today right-handed pitcher Brad Bergesen has reported to the club and the team optioned right-handed pitcher Bryan Shaw to Triple-A Reno, according to D-backs' Executive Vice President & General Manager Kevin Towers.
-- Diamondbacks press release
This is a surprise in a couple of ways, not least because you're probably going, "Brad who?" He's a pitcher the Diamondbacks picked up off the waiver wire from the Orioles on July 20, in a move that attracted very little (read: "no") attention at the time. He hard been called up to Baltimore a few days previously, but hadn't made it into a major-league game before becoming surplus to requirements. In Triple-A, he had started 10 games and appeared in a dozen more out of the bullpen, and that's probably the key here.
With Josh Collmenter moving back in to the rotation, Arizona seemed to be in need of a long reliever, and Bergesen probably fits that role better than the other available candidates, e.g. Craig Breslow or Mike Zagurski. His overall ERA of 4.03 is nothing much to write home about, but he has been notably more effective out of the bullpen. His dozen relief appearances have covered 28 innings (showing his ability to work multiple frames) with an ERA in those of 2.89. He does have major-league experience, with a 4.68 ERA from 2009-11 with the Orioles, again splitting time between the rotation and bullpen.
Shaw's demotion probably does not come as too much of a surprise, as he has struggled hellaciously of late. He exited June with a 2.81 ERA, and we seeing work in high-leverage situations, particularly in the seventh inning as the opening act for Messrs. Hernandez and Putz. However, the summer heat melted Shaw like a packed of cheap chocolate. His eight appearances this month have resulted in the following line:
Shaw: 6 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 12.00 ERA
Even in a small sample-size, those numbers are terrible, but expanding it to his past 30 appearances since May 7, Shaw still had a 5.54 ERA, a K:BB ratio of 18:12, and was clearly struggling with his pitches. Most recently, he was instrumental in the team blowing a six-run lead during the finale in Cincinnati and an appearance on Friday night against the Astros went no better - though fortunately, this was in a mop-up situation. However, Shaw is only 24, and the odds are that he'll be able to rebound, once the cause of his issues is identified and corrected.