BALTIMORE -- The Orioles lost Jason Berken on waivers, as the pitcher was claimed by the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon.
The right-hander was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for lefty reliever Zach Phillips, and the 28-year-old Berken had spent most of the season at Triple-A Norfolk. Berken went 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 26 starts for Norfolk, allowing 56 earned runs on 160 hits and 39 walks over 144 innings, with 98 strikeouts.
After spending 2009 in the Orioles' rotation, Berken had a career year as a reliever in 2010, posting a 3.03 ERA in 41 games. He struggled to replicate that success last season, going 1-2 with a 5.36 ERA in 47 Major League outings spread over 40 games.
Hammel OK, Tillman cleared to take next step
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles received good news on a pair of right elbows Friday afternoon, with Thursday night's starter Jason Hammel said to be OK after taking a line drive off his elbow, and Chris Tillman -- who has been dealing with elbow inflammation -- cleared for long toss.
Hammel, who made his debut off the disabled list on Thursday night, joked after the Orioles' 10-6 victory that he "almost expected it" in his first start back, and the 30-year-old was equally good-natured on Friday, with no plans for his next start to be skipped.
Tillman, who was able to play catch on Thursday afternoon, isn't sure when his next start will be, and the plan is for him to slowly build back up before the team makes any final decisions. He isn't expected to pitch until at least mid-next week given Monday's off-day, and the O's could push him back further than that since the team has a number of starting-pitching options.
Manager Buck Showalter said the club will work Tillman back in "Little by little, making sure that doesn't flare back up. He's on some anti-inflammatories, and we feel like we've kind of identified a little bit what might be causing it. And we won't do that anymore."
Tillman exited Saturday's start in New York with what he described as "dead arm," and an MRI came back negative for any ligament damage.
Troy Patton (right ankle sprain) did half his work on flat ground and the rest on a half mound Friday in Sarasota, Fla., and he will proceed to the full mound on Monday.
Jake Arrieta was recalled from Norfolk on Friday. Arrieta is 3-9 with a 6.13 ERA in 18 starts (101 1/3 innings) for the Orioles this season. He pitched to a 1.82 ERA in his final four starts with the Tides, striking out 31 batters in 24 2/3 innings.
Jim Thome has been taking dry swings, also in Sarasota, and manager Buck Showalter said he remains a possibility for the team this season.
The Orioles are one of 10 teams to have three or more players with 20 or more homers. The Yankees and White Sox lead with four payers, while the Brewers, Red Sox, Angels, Pirates, Cardinals, Rangers and Blue Jays also have three each. 2012 first-round Draft pick Kevin Gausman made his Double-A debut Friday in the Eastern League Divisional playoffs. He pitched three scoreless innings and allowed two hits while striking out five batters in a no-decision. The Baysox lost the game, 4-3, but hold a 2-1 series edge.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.