PITTSBURGH – The Chicago Cubs today claimed right-handed pitcher Jason Berken off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Blake Parker has been placed on the 60-day disabled list with a bone contusion in his right elbow.
Berken, 28, spent the majority of this season with Triple-A Norfolk, compiling a 5-6 record with a 3.50 ERA
(56 ER/144.0 IP) in 26 starts, including one complete game. He issued just 39 walks in 144.0 innings pitched while striking out 98 hitters. Berken began the campaign with a 1.35 ERA (3 ER/20.0 IP) in four April starts and most recently was 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA (12 ER/36.0 IP) in six August outings.
In his 26 starts for Norfolk, Berken pitched into the seventh inning nine times and issued two or fewer walks 24 times, including his final 19 starts dating to May 22. He surrendered two or fewer earned runs in 16 starts and surrendered just two home runs in his final 60.1 innings pitched, spanning 10 starts.
Berken was recalled by Baltimore, May 7, and made a relief appearance against the Rangers that night before he was optioned back to Norfolk the next day. He was designated for assignment by Baltimore, September 3.
In all or part of the last four seasons with the Orioles, Berken is 10-17 with a 5.40 ERA (138 ER/230.0 IP) in 106 games (24 starts). He made his major league debut in 2009, going 6-12 with a 6.54 ERA (87 ER/119.2 IP) in 24 starts during his rookie campaign.
Berken transitioned to Baltimore’s bullpen in 2010 and pitched to a 3.03 ERA (21 ER/62.1 IP) in 41 relief appearances before he landed on the disabled list, August 16 through the remainder of the season, with right shoulder inflammation. In 2011, Berken made 40 relief appearances, going 1-2 with a 5.36 ERA (28 ER/47.0 IP), missing time with a right forearm strain, August 22-September 12.
Since he was selected by Baltimore in the sixth round of the 2006 Draft, Berken has compiled a 30-25 minor league record with a 3.67 ERA (219 ER/537.1 IP) in 100 games (96 starts), including five complete games and two shutouts.
Parker, 27, has no record and a 6.00 ERA (4 ER/6.0 IP) in seven relief appearances for Chicago. He was on the 60-day disabled list, June 2-August 28, with a right elbow stress reaction.