KANSAS CITY - The Orioles have two of their regulars out of the lineup today for the third game of this series in Kansas City. Joey Rickard - not Adam Jones - is starting in center field, while Ryan Flaherty starts at shortstop for J.J. Hardy.
It seems mostly an off-day for Hardy, but Jones may have gotten banged up last night in the third inning diving for a ball in the outfield. With Monday’s off-day, manager Buck Showalter can give them both two days off unless they are needed later in today’s game.
“He’s banged up,” Showalter said of Jones this morning. “Got a sore hip. Diving and different stuff. We’re also trying to give J.J. two days. I talked to Adam during the game (last night) and he’s always, ‘I’m good to go.’
“Haven’t had many pass my way like Adam. He’s tough as nails, I’m telling you. He loves to play. He’s a, I don’t way to say throwback, because that’s a poor reflection on today’s guys, but Adam could have played in any era.”
The Orioles made another pitching roster move today that keeps them with a six-man bullpen and five-man bench for now.
Bleier gave up three runs (one earned) over four innings on May 3 at Boston in his only O’s appearance. That was the night Kevin Gausman was ejected. Bleier was optioned out the next day as the team added another fresh arm. Bleier has an ERA of 0.61 in eight games at Triple-A, with no walks and 15 strikeouts over 11 2/3 innings. Nuño has posted a 6.75 ERA and 1.750 WHIP in nine relief appearances over 12 innings.
“We didn’t really want to send Richard out last time, we just got into a bind with things,” Showalter said. “His time was up (the 10 days in the minors), this was the eligibility date and we knew we’d try to get him back when that time came up. Hoping we can settle in and not have to do a lot of this movement in a perfect world. Plus there are some things that Vidal needs to kind of iron out.”
The Orioles have been shuttling pitchers back and forth this year with so many relievers that can be optioned. Each time one of that group gets in a game, they have a shot to impress Showalter and come back if they have to be optioned. It’s not a tryout camp, but when you get your chance, those that produce obviously get noticed most.
“Oh, yeah. Always leave a good taste in somebody’s mouth,” Showalter said. “But we’d like to get to a point where we can keep them here. I think we’ve got a chance to kind of reset on Tuesday. We did it with the idea of all the off-days we had in April and that worked out well. But now we are in a stretch that we knew was coming and when you get a four or five-inning start, it’s tough. But when guys pitch well, we’d like for them to stay. That is what we’re hoping to get too.”
Some members of this group have been impressing the skipper.
“I think (Alec) Asher is capable of being a major league starter,” he said. “But it is all about serving the needs of the club. Sometimes that is about going down there and being ready if something happens to a starter. I think he is still close enough now that if we needed him to spot start or something he’d be OK. Him having some long outings out of the ‘pen keeps him in the starter mix. But if we get to seven (in the bullpen), that’s going to be harder to do because you’re going to have shorter outings by people.”