It had been ten days since Jason Garcia came running out of the Orioles bullpen to make a relief appearance. That’s not because the Orioles starting staff has been lights out either. In the first three games of the series in Boston, O’s starters went 3.2, 5.1 and 5 innings. Yet somehow, Garcia was left on the bench.

In Monday’s rain shortened loss to the Red Sox, Garcia made his long-awaited return with 1.2 innings of work in relief of Wei-Yin Chen. Garcia gave up two earned runs on two hits, walked one and struck out zero.

As a Rule 5 pick, the Orioles are forced to keep Garcia on the Major League roster despite the fact that the 22 year old had never pitched above low-A ball. They like his upside, but he’s forced to learn against big leaguers on the fly.

After Sunday’s appearance, O’s skipper Buck Showalter explained Garcia’s development to Gary Thorne.

“Cause we’re trying to win. You know? That’s the end game here,” Showalter said. “We’re not kissing babies here and trying to run for political office and at the same time we’re trying to do some things that help us develop players and be there for the long haul. Heck, [T.J.] McFarland may be in our rotation next year and that’s how we acquired him. You know, this guy named [Ryan] Flaherty is doing pretty well for us right now. That’s who we are and we’ll figure it out. That’s what we’re here for.”

Buck has said repeatedly that AL East teams can’t hide Rule 5 players in the bullpen — the roster spots are too important. He did clarify though that Garcia is getting work in despite not pitching in a game for ten days.

“Jason is throwing a lot between starts, he’s growing, going into different ball parks and [if] it reaches to a point where it keeps us from trying to achieve our organizational goal of being the last team standing, we’ll make an adjustment.”

The starters (and a weird ejection of Ubaldo Jimenez) have put the pressure on Showalter as the pen has been taxed already during their 13-game stretch without an off day. They’re going to have to use Garcia in non-blow out games eventually. Let’s hope he’s a quick learner.