KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Orioles added left-hander Richard Bleier before Sunday's series finale at Kauffman Stadium, recalled the multi-inning reliever from Triple-A Norfolk and optioning left-hander Vidal Nuno to the Tides.
Bleier, who arrived in Kansas City on Saturday night with Sunday's day-after-night game, provided much-needed length in his only Orioles appearance, pitching three innings and allowing three runs – just one earned – when starter Kevin Gausman was ejected from the game in the second inning May 3 at Fenway Park in Boston. Bleier was shortly thereafter optioned back to Norfolk, where he pitching three scoreless relief outings spanning 5 2/3 innings before returning to the big league club for Sunday's game.
"We really didn't want to send Richard out the first time," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We just got into a bind with things and his time was up. This was his eligibility date. We were going to try to get him back when that time came up. I'm hoping we can settle in and not have to do a lot of this movement in a perfect world. There's some things that Vidal kind of needs to iron out."
Bleier, an early spring training trade acquisition from the New York Yankees, has performed well at the Triple-A level, moving himself up on the depth chart of optionable relievers who can be summoned from Norfolk. Sunday was the first day Bleier was eligible to return to the Orioles after spending the 10 days in the minors needed to remain in order to be recalled (barring moves that are part of a corresponding DL move).
"I don't think it's frustrating," Bleier said of moving up and down. "I think that honestly, I look at that I'm thankful for the opportunity that I'm one of the guys that's up and down. I'm sure that a lot of guys would gladly be in my position, at least getting opportunities in the big leagues. I'm just thankful for every day in the big leagues I get. One day at a time, really."
Bleier has a 0.61 ERA at Norfolk, allowing just earned run over 14 2/3 innings. He has struck out 15 and walked none.
"I think I was just paying attention to what was happening in our games down there in Norfolk and just trying to get people out," Bleier said.
Despite pitching right-hander Alec Asher 2 2/3 relief innings in Saturday's loss, Asher remained on the 25-man roster.
"I think Asher is capable of being a major league starter, too, but it's all about serving the needs of the major league club, and sometimes that's going down there and being ready when something happens to a starter. I think we're close enough now that if we needed him to spot-start, we'd be OK. It's another good thing about him having long outings out of the 'pen because it keeps him in the starter mix, but if we get to seven [relievers], that's going to be hard to do because you're going to have shorter outings by people."
Jones sits in series finale
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was out of the starting lineup for the first time this season Sunday as Showalter said he wanted Jones to get the benefit of receiving two consecutive days off with the team idle Monday.
"He's banged up," Showalter said. "He's got a sore hip. He's diving and different stuff. He's just generally banged up like a lot of guys are."
Jones made a diving attempt on Lorenzo Cain's double in the third inning Saturday, and charged Jorge Soler's looping hit in the sixth with another dive.
"Adam had a couple of awkward [moments]," Showalter said. "He's never going to come [tell me]. I talked to him during the game. He's always, 'I'm good to go, let's go.' I haven't had many pass my way like Adam. I'll tell you, this guy is tough as nails. He loves to play and he's a – I don't want to say throwback because that's a poor reflection on today's guys – but Adam could have played in any era."
Showalter also gave shortstop J.J. Hardy Sunday off to give him consecutive days off.
Kim starts in left
Hyun Soo Kim, whose starts against right-handed starters have diminished because of rookie Trey Mancini's emergence, received his first start since May 5.
Kim, who led the club with a .382 on-base percentage last season, entered Sunday's game with a .222/.300/.311 hitting line, going 10-for-45 in 17 games.
"We try to keep everybody involved, but it's tough, it's tough," Showalter said. "It's a convenient excuse if you choose it to be and probably a valid one, but our guys really haven't shown that one."