O's purchase Aquino's Triple-A contract
Reliever was 2-2 with nine saves and 2.45 ERA at Norfolk
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles swapped one arm out of their bullpen and another one in on Saturday, when they designated Ryan Bukvich for assignment and purchased Greg Aquino's contract from Triple-A Norfolk. Aquino made the roster out of Spring Training and subsequently washed out, but he's been given a second chance after finding his form for Norfolk.
"I don't know what happened," he said of his first sting with Baltimore. "I don't know what was going on. But I felt loose with my mechanics and my pitches. I felt bad when they sent me down, but what could I do? Let's see what happens now."
Aquino worked to a 14.21 ERA in six games with Baltimore, and things got so bad that the Orioles once went more than 10 days without sending him to the mound. But he got back to basics in Norfolk and pitched much better, netting a 2-2 record with nine saves and a 2.45 ERA. Now, he's viewed as a potential seventh-inning solution for the Orioles.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said that Aquino's chief strength is the ability to throw his power slider as a swing-and-miss pitch, but he also said that he didn't see that pitch enough during the first month of the year.
"Perhaps it's because he wasn't used enough," Trembley said. "But when he did get an opportunity to pitch, his command wasn't what it should have been. That was probably my fault because I didn't give him enough opportunities to pitch. So we sent him back to Triple-A and he pitched a lot. Most of [his appearances] were good, and hopefully he can help us."
Bukvich, meanwhile, didn't impress enough in his brief stint with the Orioles. The right-hander allowed home runs to the first batter he faced in each of his first two outings and pitched to a 6.75 ERA in four appearances. He walked six batters and struck out five, and Trembley said his lack of control was the major reason the Orioles made a move.
"I just don't think he threw enough strikes," he said. "Maybe the situations he came were different for him. I don't think you can afford that luxury of putting guys on without them hitting their way on. I don't think there's any substitute for strike one and staying away from the bases on balls, especially late in the game. The base on balls late in the game will kill you."
Even with this move, the Orioles may be looking further down the road. Randor Bierd, who was acquired in last December's Rule 5 Draft, just wrapped up the initial phase of his rehabilitation from a case of right shoulder impingement. The Orioles are watching him carefully and will be obligated to make a decision on him within the next few weeks.
"Bierd is in [Double-A] Bowie," Trembley said. "We have him there for five appearances through July 17, [and] after that time we will evaluate his progress and go with the next move -- whatever that is -- the appropriate course of action to take."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.