The Orioles will face a tough decision on right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, whose next start hinges on whether the blister on his right thumb heals in time for him to pitch Saturday.

Gonzalez was originally scheduled to make his next start on Thursday, but he's already been pushed back two days to allow the blister to heal. Monday's off day allows the Orioles to start Freddy Garcia on Thursday and Jason Hammel on Friday on regular rest to give Gonzalez that extra time.


But before tonight's game, Gonzalez said he wasn't confident the blister would be healed in time to pitch Saturday. The blister is located on the inside part of his thumb and would affect the grip on all of his pitches. He added that he'd rather miss a start instead of risk doing worse damage to the blister and missing more starts.

He will throw a bullpen session with the bandage around the blister Thursday, but since he can't pitch in a game with anything on his hand, the throwing session won't a true indicator of whether he will be able to grip pitches in a game.

If Gonzalez can't pitch in Saturday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he would need to find a starter for that game. He could turn for Triple-A Norfolk for an option – right-hander Steve Johnson is scheduled to pitch for the Tides on Saturday – or use a bullpen option like left-hander T.J. McFarland or right-hander Tommy Hunter.

Also of note:

-- Wilson Betemit (right PCL tear) has yet to resume baseball activities. Showalter said it could "be a reach" to think Betemit will be able to return from the injury when he's eligible to come off the 60-day DL on May 24.

-- After seeing the replay of Blue Jays pitcher JA Happ being hit in the head by a batted ball last night in Tampa Bay, Showalter said that baseball should do something he increase pitcher safely. He said he was open to the idea of padded caps or even helmets for pitchers. "We make [first-base and third-base] coaches do it from 90 feet away," he said.

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