SATURDAY: Bleier will indeed have season-ending surgery on Tuesday to repair a Grade 3 lat strain, as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun was among those to tweet.
FRIDAY, 3:33pm: Bleier may need surgery and is likely to miss the remainder of the season, MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli is among those to report on Twitter.
2:19pm: The Orioles have announced a host of roster moves today. Southpaw Richard Bleier is heading to the DL with what has been diagnosed as a lat strain. He’ll be replaced in the pen by southpaw Tanner Scott.
Infielder Corban Joseph has been selected and added to the active roster as well. To create the needed roster space, righty Yefry Ramirez was optioned and lefty D.J. Snelten was designated for assignment.
The news on Bleier was fully expected at this point, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com wrote earlier today. Bleier is said to be seeking a second opinion after already undergoing an MRI. It’s still unclear just how bleak the outlook is, but Kubatko suggests the internal belief is it’s a serious injury.
While Bleier, 31, is hardly a household name, perhaps he should be. The former Yankees southpaw is in his third big league season and currently is sporting the third sub-2.00 ERA of his career. Bleier has a 1.97 ERA in 119 innings, which is the sixth-lowest mark (min. 100 innings) in MLB history. He’s tied with Craig Kimbrel for the best ERA- (46) in MLB history (again, min. 100 innings; and a tip of the cap to ESPN’s Sam Miller for shining a light on Bleier’s curious dominance earlier this season).
Bleier has averaged just 4.1 K/9 in his career, but his 21.2 percent hard-contact rate in 2018 is outstanding. He’s allowed only two barreled balls this season (as defined by Statcast), and he leads the Majors in barrels per batted ball (1.8 percent of balls in play against him). Bleier may be an anomaly, but he’s been an important piece to the Baltimore bullpen who now looks headed for an absence of potential significance.