Miguel Gonzalez makes rehab start for Bowie, is expected to return Sunday or Monday

NOTEBOOK

June 11, 2014|By Alejandro Zuniga | The Baltimore Sun

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who is recovering from a right oblique strain, made an injury rehabilitation start for Double-A Bowie on Wednesday night at Prince George’s Stadium.

Gonzalez, who is expected to return from the DL on Sunday or Monday, threw 70 pitches (45 strikes) in 4 1/3 scoreless innings for the Baysox on Wednesday. He allowed four hits, walked one batter and struck out five, leaving the game after striking out the leadoff batter in the fifth inning.

Before the series finale against the Boston Red Sox, manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t rule out the possibility of using a six-man starting rotation when Gonzalez is activated.

But for that to happen, Showalter said his starting pitching has to merit the move.

“[A six-man rotation] is an option,” Showalter said. “Seven’s an option. Eight’s an option, if we had them. They’re all options. It’s something we could do. If a ‘what if’ becomes a guy you’re going to count on, then that’s how you get to six.”

The Orioles called up right-hander Kevin Gausman on Saturday to take the rotation spot of Gonzalez, who was sent to the DL on Friday, retroactive to May 31. Gausman held the Oakland Athletics to one run and four hits in seven innings Saturday in the Orioles’ 6-3 victory.

Gausman will start again Thursday in the series opener against the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards, though Showalter thinks he could then contribute from the bullpen, if needed.

Showalter said Gonzalez, who is 3-4 with a 4.17 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) this season, will be used as a starter when he returns to the major leagues. Showalter also said he hopes Gonzalez can start Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday in the three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Those outings, along with Gausman’s performance Thursday, will determine what moves Showalter makes.

“I try not to dwell on it too much, knowing that a lot of them will solve themselves,” Showalter said. “I hope everyone pitches real well, and we’ve got a problem. That’d be a good problem.”

Webb getting the job done in bullpen

When Ryan Webb goes more than two consecutive games without pitching, he feels like he hasn’t made an appearance for months.

But the right-hander has given Showalter every reason to call upon him as frequently as possible this year.

Webb has a 2.60 ERA heading into Wednesday’s game, including a perfect seventh inning against the Red Sox on Tuesday in which he needed just eight pitches — all strikes — to induce a pair of groundouts and a popout.

His 28 appearances this season rank him second on the team to left-hander Brian Matusz through Tuesday.

“That’s what I’m here to do,” Webb said Wednesday. “When you feel good out there and consistent, it’s nice to get in every day.”

Last year, Webb threw a career-high 80 1/3 innings with the Miami Marlins, including 12 appearances of two or more innings. He’s currently on track to pitch less than 70 innings this season, but he said he expects his workload to increase as the summer progresses.

“I definitely like the repetition,” Webb said. “The more repetition you get, the more comfortable you get, and you get better results that way. It’s nice to get into a lot of games, especially if your arm is in shape for that.”

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