ARLINGTON, Texas -- The results of an MRI performed Wednesday on Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez’s right side were better than the club expected, but he could still land on the disabled list if he is unable to start Saturday’s game against the Oakland Athletics.
The team initially feared that Gonzalez, who said he woke up Tuesday with sudden pain on his right side, had suffered an oblique strain -- an injury that sideline pitchers for months. Gonzalez was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday against the Texas Rangers.
"MRI was better than we thought it might be, so we don't think it's something long-term,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after Wednesday's game.
Showalter said he will decide Friday whether Gonzalez can start Saturday. If he can’t, the team will likely place him on the 15-day disabled list so the injury can be completely resolved.
Since Gonzalez last pitched Friday, he would be available to return from the DL on June 15.
“With the five days behind us now, and if he can't pitch Saturday, we'd probably try to clear it completely up,” Showalter said. “But from what all indications are, he will probably be able to pitch within the DL period, but you don't know for sure. I think if he can't pitch Saturday, we'll DL him."
Gonzalez, who is 3-4 with a 4.17 ERA this season, has four straight quality starts. He has a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings in that span, which also included a two-inning relief appearance against the Detroit Tigers on May 14.
Right-hander Chris Tillman, who initially was scheduled to start Saturday with two extra days’ rest, will now start Thursday’s series finale against the Rangers on regular rest. Tillman took his regular work day between starts, so he won’t have to make any extra adjustments for the switch.
“It’s normal rest and everything,” Tillman said. “I went through my routine as if I was starting that day anyway.”
If Gonzalez can’t start Saturday’s game against the Athletics at Camden Yards, left-hander T.J. McFarland and Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Kevin Gausman are options to start that game.
McFarland pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the Orioles’ 6-5 win over Texas on Wednesday. Gausman left his scheduled start at Norfolk on Wednesday after just one inning and 26 pitches.