Reliever Richard Bleier is headed back to the injured list and extended spring training after experiencing more-than-normal shoulder fatigue during the first two weeks of the season.
Manager Brandon Hyde all but said as much on Wednesday, when he indicated that Bleier might need a “reset” after getting knocked around during his first four appearances.
“He’s got some shoulder tendinitis,” Hyde said. “He wasn’t bouncing back. He didn’t feel like he had the same stuff as well as just his arm wasn’t recovering the way he wanted it to.
“Like I said [Wednesday], he came back off a pretty major deal. He really wanted to make the club and did. He was ahead of schedule from a rehab standpoint. I think he probably pushed it a little bit. We just decided yesterday, ‘Let’s just give him a little bit of a break.’”
Bleier allowed seven earned runs on nine hits for a 14.54 earned run average, which certainly is not characteristic of a pitcher whose ERA began with a one after each of his previous three major league seasons.
“It’s just been a constant battle with my arm,’’ said Bleier, who underwent lat surgery last summer. “It got to the point where I couldn’t make the pitches I wanted to make. When it gets to that point, it’s something that we can treat and get me in a controlled environment where it’s not like I’m doing a rehab assignment in the big leagues.”
The Orioles made two moves to bolster the bullpen, calling up right-hander Josh Lucas and left-hander Tanner Scott, while returning Josh Rogers to Triple-A Norfolk after he made a long relief appearance Wednesday.
The hope is that Bleier can go down to the Orioles facility in Sarasota and get into what he called “a more structured situation,” then go out on a minor league rehab assignment.
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He said he doesn’t see himself coming back after the minimum 10-day stay on the IL, but doesn’t believe it will be an extended absence.
“I don’t know exactly,’’ he said. “Throughout this process there have been various steps of progression and I feel like I’m one step away from being back to normal. I’m close. It’s just not there yet.”
Bleier said the issue is not directly related to the surgery, but the tired shoulder probably is connected to the long recovery time.
“I think it’s related to the lat, but there’s no structural damage or anything like that,’’ he said. “I think it’s just part of the process, to be honest. You don’t really feel 100 percent. They said nine months game ready, but I think it takes a little longer than that for some people.”
Scott will fill Bleier’s left-handed late-inning role, but he has not had a great spring. He pitched nine exhibition innings and gave up eight earned runs. In two appearances for Norfolk, he allowed three runs over 2 1/3 innings.
Lucas has made a pair of appearances for the Tides, allowing just one hit and striking out two in two innings. During spring training, he allowed four earned runs, but just five hits and one walk, over six innings.
“We decided to have Tanner and Josh here,’’ Hyde said. “Josh threw the ball great in spring training. Tanner has elite back-end stuff. We’re just looking forward to watching them pitch. The key to Tanner is getting it in the strike zone, his stuff is so good.”