Bleier's ERA continues to drop, but Orioles' Showalter casts doubt on move to starter

Richard Bleier was a successrful starter in the minor leagues.

Left-hander Richard Bleier delivered another solid performance in middle relief Monday night and was rewarded with his second victory of the season.

He also lowered his ERA to 1.34 and caused manager Buck Showalter to pre-empt any question about his future role before one was even asked.

"The thing about Rock is, he's able to defend himself against right-handed hitters,'' Showalter said after the Orioles' bullpen nailed down a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. "Then you start to question, especially with some struggling with starting, about him starting. I think he's found a good role where he can be stretched out and he has good recuperative skills, and that's good to see."

So, not sure if that was a yes or a no, but it's fair to point out that Bleier spent much of a long minor league career as a starter and was 14-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 2015 pitching at the Double-A and Triple-A levels in the Washington Nationals organization.

His only major league experience before joining the Orioles was part of last season with the New York Yankees, during which he pitched solely in relief and had a 1.96 ERA in 23 games.

The Orioles acquired him from the Yankees in February at the suggestion of a couple of members of the Orioles’ analytics and research department.

"Mike Silverman and Ben Werthan were really talking a lot about him to us when he became available,'' Showalter said. "At the time, I remember them saying this is somebody we should look deeper into and we did. That's kind of where it started. Obviously, our scouts and everybody knew of him, but I knew Mike and Ben were really beating me up about him in spring. We've been able to put him in some good situations."

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