Bergman makes debut for Angels

Dusty Bergman knew all about Ben Weber's struggles. He was aware that Anaheim closer Troy Percival was injured. He also knew that Brendan Donnelly was rehabbing an early season injury.

The 26-year-old Bergman, a set-up man for the Salt Laker Stingers of the Pacific Coast League, knew that his time was near. He knew that in a matter of days he would have a chance to realize his dream of pitching on a Major League game.

Bergman, a 1996 Carson High graduate, realized that dream Tuesday night when the Anaheim Angels put him on the 40-man roster. He made his debut Wednesday night, allowing three runs and four hits in his two-inning stint.

Bergman, who flew to Anaheim Wednesday morning, entered the game in the top of the eighth with no outs and runners on first and third.

Up stepped Geoff Jenkins, who hit a sacrifice fly. He walked ex-University of Nevada star Lyle Overbay and Junior Spivey singled, loading the bases. Bill Hall doubled to deep right driving in two runs, and Ken Ginter singled home two more runs.

In the ninth, he yielded a leadoff single to Scott Posednik, and then retired the next three hitters, including Jenkins on strikes, to end the inning.

"I was anxious, emotional and nervous," Bergman said Thursday morning from his hotel room in Anaheim. "I felt I threw the ball pretty good. I got behind in the counts and started to rush it. I had a good second inning.

"I think my manager (Mike Brumley) knew the whole day I was going up. He waited until after the game to tell me. I knew it was between me and one other guy, but still when the manager calls you in the office, you are anxious."

How long he stays with Anaheim is anybody's guess. Much will depend on how quick Donnelly will be ready to go, and if Weber solves his problems down in Salt Lake.

"I'm just going to enjoy it and have fun," Bergman said. "I'm not coming in expecting to take Percival's spot."

There's a certain amount of pressure, too. Bergman, who was 1-0 with a 2.83 ERA, knows that good performances could help immensely when the Angels expand their roster in September. The one advantage he has is that he is the only left-hander in the Angels' bullpen presently.

Bergman, who is 28-41 in his career in the Angels' farm system, said he feels he is pretty much on schedule in terms of his advancement through the system.

"When you sign, you hope to move up a level a year," Bergman said. "There are six levels and I'm in my sixth year. You hope to get (to the majors) sooner, but if you're not ready it doesn't do you any good."

Bergman was originally a starter his first three years in the minors, but save for 10 starts last year at Double-A, he has been in the bullpen. He was 16-34 in that span, and definitely is more comfortable in the bullpen.

He uses more guile than power to get batters out.

"I throw in the high 80s, and maybe get to low 90s," Bergman said. "I throw a cut fastball, slider and change-up. I try to get people to swing at bad pitches and get themselves out."

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281.

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