For the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 19 with left shoulder inflammation, closer George Sherrill threw a simulated game yesterday at Camden Yards.
If he has no residual soreness or pain today, Sherrill is expected to be activated tomorrow.
"Everything went pretty good," he said before last night's game. "I think it's gone. The rest helped. The medicine finally kicked in. It felt fine."
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he has no choice but to put Sherrill right back as the closer, given the state of the team's depleted bullpen.
"I don't think I have the luxury of easing anybody in," Trembley said. "I think I'd have to put him in his role and go from there. The only thing I probably would have to think twice about is using him on back-to-back days. I don't think that would be a prudent decision to do right off the bat, but he's a closer and so that's the role he would be put in."
Sherrill, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 15 in Detroit, relishes the opportunity after throwing "20 to 30" pitches in a simulated game against Guillermo Quiroz, Omir Santos and Brandon Fahey.
"I definitely want to get in," said Sherrill, who had only three of his career-high 31 saves after being used 2 1/3 innings in the All-Star Game by Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I don't know if [Trembley] wants to go with a close situation the first time. I think getting in that first time will be pretty exciting."
Sherrill said watching the Orioles fade badly without him, losing 16 of 19 games since he was put on the DL, hasn't been easy.
"It's tough," he said. "There's nothing you can do about it when you're sitting and watching. It's good to get back and hopefully we can start playing well."
No winter vacation
Trembley suggested that outfielder Lou Montanez might benefit from a season of winter ball to help him become more comfortable in the field. Though Montanez has made only two errors in 26 games since being called up from Double-A Bowie on Aug. 5, the rookie has looked unsteady at times.
Asked what he would like to see Montanez improve on, Trembley said: "Better routes in the outfield number one. Two, better accuracy throwing the ball. Three, better positioning. I think he plays too deep."
Trembley thinks that Montanez, 26, plays too deep for a reason.
"He doesn't want the ball hit over his head," Trembley said. "I think that has to go rhyme and rhyme with bad routes. Guys that play deep are afraid of the ball going over their head. You saw it in Fenway. There were a couple balls that his routes just weren't very good. In his defense, he was very open about it when he got here."
Nothing set on Guthrie
Jeremy Guthrie, who was scratched from Tuesday's start against the Indians because of tonsillitis and hasn't pitched since Aug. 29 after developing a tired arm, said he expected to make Saturday's scheduled start, but there are no guarantees.
"Day to day, I'll take it each day and be ready," Guthrie said.
Around the horn
Trembley said Melvin Mora, who hasn't played since Aug. 29 because of a strained hamstring, was available to pinch hit last night. ... Nick Markakis, who was hitless in his past 12 at-bats, was given the night off.