The Orioles will soon decide whether Yovani Gallardo will need one more minor league rehabilitation start before returning from the disabled list, and manager Buck Showalter said he is encouraged by an increase in the right-hander's fastball velocity.
Gallardo made his second rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Norfolk, allowing three runs on four hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked two, throwing 85 pitches, 49 for strikes.
"Regardless of how it felt and everything, I think [Wednesday] and his work day will be a big day," Showalter said. "It will be an important day. I think that will be when we actually make a decision."
Gallardo's fastball sat at 89-90 mph and reached 91, above the four regular-season starts he made in April before going on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis, when his fastball averaged less than 88mph.
Gallardo's average fastball velocity has declined since 2011 as he's evolved from a power pitcher to one who changes speeds to keep hitters off balance. But this year's early decline was dramatic, his fastball dipping 3.6 mph from 2015.
Four Orioles — first baseman Chris Davis, shortstop Manny Machado, second baseman Jonathan Schoop and outfielder Mark Trumbo — have played in all 57 games.
Machado, the only major league player to play in all 162 games last season, has the longest active games-played streak with 219.
"They take a lot of pride in it," Showalter said. "I think it's a lasting impression that Cal [Ripken Jr.] left here. I do. I think it's something [where] guys really take pride in posting up. … It's up to me to make sure that pride doesn't get in the way of being smart, too. That's why I tell them, 'We don't need heroes. We have other people.'"
The Orioles are in a stretch of games on 20 consecutive days that will run through this weekend's series in Toronto.
"You kind of take each day [at a time]," Showalter said. "I have a conversation with [trainer] Richie [Bancells] and the players at some point. I had one with Manny yesterday for two minutes. How's it going? You don't ever assume it. I don't ever take it for granted."
Trumbo took the major league lead with his 19th home run Monday night, but that won't assure him of a spot in next month's All-Star Game.
Trumbo, one of the top three American League outfielders in the first round of voting released last week, dropped to fourth as he was passed by Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. Two-time Most Valuable Player Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain maintained their hold on the top two spots.
Trumbo entered Tuesday batting .295/.349/.605 with 44 RBIs, sixth-most in the majors. He trails Bradley 937,571 to 816,276. Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is ninth among outfielders with 324,863, and Joey Rickard is 14th with 241,079.
Machado remained the leading vote-getter among AL third baseman, receiving 898,715 votes, ahead of injured Royal Mike Moustakas (725,731) and Toronto's Josh Donaldson (588,957).
Continuing his rehab in Sarasota, shortstop J.J.Hardy was forced to take grounders in the Ed Smith Stadium facility's indoor cages because of storms from Tropical Storm Colin that flooded most of the complex. … Frederick RHP Matthew Grimes was named Carolina League Player of the Month for May. He went 5-1 with a 1.24 ERA in six starts last month, holding opponents to a .194 batting average. Grimes allowed just one earned run over his last 282/3 innings. The award came one day after he received the organizational minor league pitcher of the month award for May. … Four players from Low-A Delmarva — catchers Yermin Gonzalez and Alex Murphy and left-handed reliever Garrett Cleavinger and right-handed reliever Ryan Meisinger — were named to participate in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 21 in Lexington, Ky.