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03/08/10 1:54 PM ET

Bergesen to make first start Wednesday

Orioles right-hander hasn't pitched in a game since July 30

SARASOTA, Fla. -- After completing Monday's batting-practice session, the Orioles confirmed what has been speculated for the past few days -- Brad Bergesen will make his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday night against the Pirates.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Bergesen, who hasn't pitched in game since July 30. "Obviously, it's been a long time coming."

Projected to be a middle-of the-rotation guy for the Orioles this season, Bergesen has been slowed this spring by a strained right shoulder capsule suffered while filming a team commercial in December. The 24-year-old went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts last year before his season ended on a ball that struck his left shin during his outing on July 30.

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz gave Bergesen the green light after Monday's session, which proved to be as much a test of his arm as his glove.

Bergesen said he hadn't really thought about his shin until teammates Michael Aubrey and Lou Montanez each smoked a pitch right back at him.

"It kind of caught me off guard," Bergesen said of the balls, one of which hit his right leg and one which he caught. "But hopefully that did the trick and I'll be ready to go."

Both Bergesen and manager Dave Trembley said the Orioles' plan Wednesday will be similar to the other starters' first go-around -- two innings or around 35 pitches.

"The rehab and the progression have gone to their standards," Bergesen said. "I didn't know exactly how it would work, what they'd want me to do, but that's the plan. So I'm happy about it."

After several successful flat-mound sessions, Bergesen has been throwing off the mound the past 10 days and said he is becoming more comfortable up on the hill.

Bergesen is expected to be part of a rotation that includes Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.