TORONTO — The Orioles officially called up right-hander Alec Asher to start Saturday's afternoon game against the Toronto Blue Jays, and in a corresponding move optioned right-hander Stefan Crichton back to Triple-A Norfolk.
Crichton was in the Orioles bullpen the previous two games, but didn't enter a game. He was warming before the ninth inning in Friday's 6-4 win, but closer Zach Britton pitched the ninth because it was a save situation.
"He got a nice blood flow down there a couple times," manager Buck Showalter said. "That was good. I asked [bullpen coach] Alan [Mills] how'd it go down there and he said he was fine. He seemed like he'll be a guy who is in control of his emotions. I wanted to get him in a game. Came close a couple times."
Showalter said he wants to keep Crichton pitching, but added that he might be back with the big league club sooner than anticipated.
"Who knows, he might be back sooner than he thinks," Showalter said. "… I'd like to have gotten him a chance to pitch, but he'll get one before the year is over, maybe sooner than he thinks."
Even though Crichton didn't get into a game, Showalter said it was important to have him begin to adjust to the major league bullpen environment.
"They get real serious around here and real focused," Showalter said. "There's a certain flow to a good bullpen. You almost get to the point where the phone doesn't have to ring, or it can ring and you don't have to answer it. You know what's going on. We're lucky to have someone like Millsy down there. He runs a good ship down there and he's got some people who help them run it because they set a great example. And that's why it's good to bring young players into that environment."
Asher joined the club in Toronto on Friday, but was on the team's 24-hour taxi squad before officially being called up Saturday.
Around the horn
Ryan Flaherty received his first start of the season Saturday, filling in for J.J. Hardy, whom Showalter wanted to give a day off this series to ensure he didn't play all four games on the Rogers Centre turf. Flaherty has good numbers against Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, entering the day 3-for-9 with two homers and five RBIs. … Showalter said he is considering giving Chris Davis a day off from first base Sunday and allowing him to be the designated hitter, also with the turf in mind. ... Players on both teams all wore No. 42 on Saturday for this year's annual Jackie Robinson Day. The orange jerseys the Orioles wore Saturday will be auctioned off on the MLB.com website through April 22.