06/06/08 8:00 PM ET
Baltimore bullpen set for now
Rehabbing trio of relief pitchers unlikely to help Orioles soon
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
The Orioles aren't expecting noteworthy contributions anytime soon from some of their injured relievers, which means Baltimore will have to make do with its current bullpen. Orioles manager Dave Trembley spoke to the separate cases of right-handed relievers Randor Bierd, Rocky Cherry and Fernando Cabrera before Thursday's game.
Perhaps Cabrera had the biggest name of that trio before this season, but he's struggled to make it back from offseason arthroscopic surgery on his throwing elbow. The youngster has made three scoreless appearances for Triple-A Norfolk this season, but Trembley said he won't rush Cabrera until all of the scouting reports match the results.
"Some [reports] have been good, some have not," Trembley said. "He hasn't been where he should be as far as we're concerned with considering him to come back at this particular time. I think we're pretty well set with what we've got right now."
Baltimore's current relief ERA (3.18) ranks sixth in the American League and is more than two runs better than the team's worst franchise mark (5.71), which was set last season. The Orioles are getting contributions from several arms in new capacities, chief among them closer George Sherrill and young relievers Jim Johnson and Matt Albers.
Trembley also fielded questions regarding Bierd, who was acquired by Baltimore as a Rule 5 Draft pick and acquitted himself well as a big league reliever during April. Bierd went on the disabled list in the beginning of May with a case of right shoulder impingement, and Trembley said he's only beginning to work back into peak condition.
"Bierd has just started a throwing program," the manager said, leaving no timetable for the rookie's return to action.
Finally, the Orioles have Cherry in Triple-A. The right-hander, who was acquired last season from the Cubs as a piece in the Steve Trachsel trade, has struggled to work back from a right shoulder strain. Cherry missed almost all of April and most of May with the injury, and he currently is working in a limited role for Triple-A Norfolk.
"He's a one-inning guy," said Trembley. "He gives us an option if we needed somebody like that."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.