7/25 Welcome to the show

Justin Berg got a phone call Friday, and was told to come into Iowa manager Bobby Dickerson’s office. It was the right-hander’s turn to join the big league team.

“I was pretty excited,” Berg said.

At Iowa, he was 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 24 relief appearances. He’s given up one home run this season, and that was in his third outing. Berg is from Antigo, Wis., and wears No. 64 because it’s the same number of a highway that goes through his hometown.

“He’s pitched well in the past four, five weeks in Triple-A and has a good sinker, a heavy ball,” Lou PIniella said. “The secret for this young man is to throw strikes. If he can get the ball over the plate, he’ll get ground balls.”

Berg was with the big league team this spring. Primarily a sinker ball pitcher, he also throws a cutter, a curve and a changeup. He knows he’ll be nervous the first time on the mound.

“[I have to] throw strikes, first and foremost,” Berg said. “Relax, take a deep breath and go out there and compete.”

Perhaps the happiest player to see Berg was pitcher Jeff Stevens, who handed off the neon orange backpack the reliever with least seniority has to carry to the bullpen.

– Carrie Muskat

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