PHOENIX — With Josh Collmenter back in the starting rotation, the Diamondbacks addressed the need for a long reliever by adding newcomer Brad Bergesen on Sunday. Bergesen was acquired off waivers from the Orioles on Friday.
“I’m really looking forward to it. There is definitely a little bit of nervousness, but a good nervousness,” Bergesen said.
The D-backs optioned Bryan Shaw to Class AAA Reno to make room for Bergesen, who was 4-3 with a 4.03 ERA at Class AAA Norfolk this season while splitting time as a starter and a reliever. The previous three years, Bergesen was in and out of the Orioles’ starting rotation while working through leg and arm injuries.
“Really excited for a fresh start,” Bergesen said. “It’s something I kind of got to that point with Baltimore, which is a great organization. At the same time, we want the best for our careers, and I think it was a point where it came to perfect timing to get a fresh start.”
Bergesen, 26, missed the final two months of his rookie season in 2009 after suffering a left shin injury when he was struck by a line drive. He suffered an arm injury that winter and was bothered by it in 2010 before regaining full health.
“There were some injuries, but I was able to recover from them and get back to 100 percent. It’s always a battle,” said Bergesen, who played with David Hernandez in Baltimore and said he followed the progress of the D-backs last season.
“I watched these guys last year and know what this team is about. I look forward to being a part and being able to contribute.”
Shaw, 1-4 with a 4.26 ERA, had struggled in his last two outings, giving up five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings and taking the loss when the Reds overcame a six-run deficit Thursday, and manager Kirk Gibson said had begun to rely too much on his best pitch, a cut fastball.
The D-backs had the benefit of taking it slowly with Shaw, still a valuable component in their future, after activating Takashi Saito from the disabled list Saturday.
“Last year and this year up until now, everything has been going kind of smooth,” Shaw said. “I hadn’t really hit that little rough patch, that little slump, if you will. Obviously, the last few outings it’s been a little worse than rough. I’ll just go down there and get my confidence back to where it needs to be and has been all season.”
Shaw had two saves in the first nine days of the season, and catcher Miguel Montero compared his cut fastball to that of Mariano Rivera. But Shaw had given up 10 earned runs in his last 5 1/3 innings.
“He’s kind of turned into kind of a one-pitch pitcher right now. It’s kind of always in the same area, certainly to left-handers, so I think guys have made adjustments to him,” Gibson said.
Shaw was sent down not only to regain his confidence but also work on his other pitches, a two-seam fastball and a developing split-finger pitch that he has used several times this year.
“He’s just going to have to mix it up and throw to both sides of the plate, also up and downl,” Gibson said. “The last game he threw, he just kind of aimed the ball. He usually has a really good cutter, and there wasn’t a lot of cut on his ball.
“It’s important to use the whole plate. He’ll be fine.”