CHICAGO -- Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez threw a five-inning simulated game Monday at Double-A Bowie, his last extended outing before he is scheduled to rejoin the Orioles later this week.

Gonzalez, who threw 75 pitches Monday, likely will start either Saturday or Sunday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Gonzalez could rejoin the team sooner if he’s needed in a relief role.

Otherwise, Gonzalez likely would stay at Bowie to throw a bullpen session before rejoining the team this weekend. He is eligible to return from the minor leagues Tuesday.

Showalter said he has not yet — at least publicly — decided the club’s next step with struggling right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a work day scheduled for Tuesday and would be in turn to start after the Orioles’ day off Thursday.

“If we did or if something was impacting something that he needs to know, he’s going to hear about it from me first,” Showalter said. “We’re not there yet.”

But Showalter confirmed Monday that right-hander Kevin Gausman is expected to start Friday’s series opener against the Cubs. The Orioles held Gausman to 91 pitches Sunday, the fewest he has thrown since July 20, in order for him to come back on regular rest Friday.

Right-hander Bud Norris, who started Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, likely will start one of the other two games against the Cubs this weekend. He is 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA in six career games at Wrigley Field.

That leaves Gonzalez and right-hander Chris Tillman, who is scheduled to start Tuesday against the White Sox, as possible starters for the third game against the Cubs.

Even though the Orioles have kept Tillman on regular rest recently, Showalter said Sunday that he didn’t mind giving Tillman an extra day of rest.

Gonzalez's simulated game Monday came on a day off for Bowie, but he did pitch to Baysox hitters and had an umpire calling balls and strikes. Showalter said Gonzalez also did some hitting work to prepare for batting in a National League park.

eencina@baltsun.com

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