Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with right thumb blister, said he's confident he will be able to return to the team’s starting rotation when he’s eligible to be activated May 19.
Gonzalez was forced from his start Friday in Anaheim after just six innings because of the blister, and he his next start had already been pushed back two days. On Thursday afternoon, the Orioles decided that Gonzalez will miss Saturday’s start to ensure the blister doesn’t become a bigger problem.
Gonzalez threw a brief bullpen session Thursday with a bandage covering the blister, throwing nothing but fastballs. He will travel with the team to Minnesota, where he hopes to throw another pen session that would include breaking balls on Sunday. If all goes well there, Gonzalez said he could begin a minor league rehab assignment – likely to Double-A Bowie – on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
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Because the Orioles have two off days next week, Gonzalez will miss just one additional start before he is eligible to come off the DL. He said he’s aiming to return for the Orioles’ home series against the Yankees on May 20-22.
That leaves the Orioles still looking for a starting pitcher for Saturday. The team called up right-hander Alex Burnett to take Gonzalez’s spot on the 25-man roster, but he could just be an extra bullpen arm before Saturday. Relievers Tommy Hunter and T.J. McFarland are options, but Hunter really wasn’t stretched out in spring training – his longest Grapefruit League outing was 2 1/3 innings – and McFarland, the team’s Rule 5 pick, hasn’t pitched in eight days.
That leaves the most likely option in Triple-A Norfolk, where right-hander Steve Johnson is scheduled to start Saturday for the Tides.
Also of note:
-- Second baseman Brian Roberts had successful surgery on his right hamstring on Thursday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. The procedure was performed by Dr. Daniel Cooper in Dallas. Roberts is scheduled to return home to Sarasota, Fla., on Friday. Recovery time is estimated at six weeks.
-- The Orioles acquired minor league infielder Brandon Wood from the Royals on Thursday for cash considerations. Wood, 28, was once of the top prospects in baseball with the Angels, but he has a .186/.225/.289 line over 272 major league games. He will report to Norfolk, where he will add infield depth. Wood, who was hitting .264/.304/.396 in 16 games at Triple-A Omaha, can play all four infield positions.
-- Down in Norfolk, first baseman Travis Ishikawa continues to heat up. With two hits, Ishikawa extended his hit streak to 12 games and is hitting .478 (22-for-46) with three homers, 15 RBIs and nine runs in that span.