Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who has not pitched since developing a deep blister on his right thumb May 3 in Anaheim, is getting closer to appearing in a big league game.
Gonzalez threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday, the last few without a bandage covering the thumb (he won’t be able to use a covering in a game). He said he came out feeling “really good.”
“The ball was coming out good,” Gonzalez said. “The breaking pitches were fine. I was pretty happy about my performance.”
Gonzalez is next scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Friday afternoon at Camden Yards so that the team can best control the environment. He will throw 25-30 pitches in the simulated game and another 25 in the bullpen. He will start out without wearing the bandage.
If that is successful — and Gonzalez does not re-open the blister — it’s likely he could come off the disabled list early next week and start for the Orioles. He is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday, and the Orioles need a starter for Tuesday against the New York Yankees.
“We are talking Tuesday because that is where the need is,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll serve Miguel’s [needs], the best case for him to be healthy first and make an adjustment for Tuesday if we have to.”
Showalter said Monday or Wednesday also could be possibilities for Gonzalez to pitch, but all of that depends on the simulated game.
Gonzalez is 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in six starts for the Orioles this year. He was 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 18 games in 2012.
Arrieta gets through bullpen test
Right-hander Jake Arrieta, who missed his previous start at Triple-A Norfolk because of shoulder tightness, rebounded well after a 30-pitch bullpen session of fastballs only on Tuesday. Showalter said Arrieta had a little trouble getting loose to start, but that improved as he progressed.
“That was encouraging, compared to what it could have been,” Showalter said.
Arrieta’s normal turn to pitch would be Friday for the Tides. Norfolk lists Steve Johnson as Friday’s starter and both Saturday and Sunday as TBA. Showalter said he doesn’t think Arrieta will start this weekend, though that could be subject to change.
“I kind of doubt it, quite frankly,” Showalter said. “But that was encouraging yesterday.”
Arrieta, 27, was 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts for the Orioles before being demoted to Norfolk, where he is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA in three outings.
Nick Markakis was 2-for-5 Wednesday, raising his career interleague batting average to .349 (159-for-456), the best all-time. The rest of the top 5 includes Larry Walker (.346), Mike Piazza (.340), Albert Pujols (.337) and Delmon Young (.336). ... If his next homer comes before July 6, 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado will set the club record for most home runs before age 21. He currently has 12 career homers, tied with Boog Powell, who hit 12 from 1961 to 1962. … Machado now has 13 multi-hit games in his last 21 contests and, with a career-high three doubles Wednesday, he took over the team doubles lead with 17. … Machado and Chris Davis are the only Orioles to have three doubles in one game this year.… The Orioles are 9-6 in day games. … Showalter said Norfolk outfielder Jason Pridie was diagnosed with a groin strain after leaving Tuesday’s game after tripling. Showalter didn’t know if it would be a disabled list situation.