FREDERICK, Md. -- The Orioles, who sent down Mike Wright on Thursday as their cumulative starter ERA this past week has steadily climbed toward 5.00, are hoping right-hander Yovani Gallardo only needs two rehab starts.
Gallardo, who threw three innings for Class A Frederick on Thursday, won't necessarily be rushed. But it would benefit Baltimore, which needs a starter for Monday, to insert the veteran as soon as possible back into the starting five.
"I've been feeling great ever since I started throwing," said Gallardo, who thought Thursday was a step in the right direction. "When it comes to a rehab start, what is most important is just to throw strikes and move the ball around. Obviously, I think I threw 60 pitches today. Hopefully the next one 75 to 80 and I'm good after that [to return].
"Hopefully I feel fine [Friday] and there is nothing there. Just get ready for the next one. Just a matter of getting into a five-day routine. I think that is very important, just to get back in that rhythm and prepare yourself for each and every start."
Gallardo, who gave up two runs in a 26- pitch first inning, allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in the first game of a doubleheader against Potomac. While it was good to return to a game situation, Gallardo acknowledged it was a little different in the Class A atmosphere. What has also been different, since Gallardo received an injection and took a little break, has been the life on his pitches.
"I definitely feel the difference just by the way it's coming out. I feel like it has that life behind it, sharp right there at the end," said Gallardo, who sat consistently in the 87-91-mph range with his fastball. "That's what I'm looking for. It's a different situation and just one of those things, but that's what I want to see. Velocity, honestly I couldn't even tell you what it was and I didn't even ask. I don't worry about it. I'm just worried about the way the ball is coming out of my hand and everything else will be there."
The right-hander, on the disabled list with bicep tendinitis -- the first arm-related DL stint of his career -- last appeared in a game April 22 in Kansas City. Gallardo left that outing early because he wasn't feeling right and was placed on the DL the next day.
"There hasn't been any restrictions like there was when it happened," said Gallardo, who is confident he's regained some arm strength. "Even a couple days after I came out of that game, just not being able to keep my arm up in that slot to drive the ball to home plate. It takes time. It obviously took a little longer than what I wanted, but the most important thing is to get back, to get it right. And to have to deal with it once, even though I'm throwing now, I'm still incorporating those exercises to try to maintain that and keep it from coming back. It's a lot of hard work. The trainers did a great job. I feel really good. I'm excited to get back out there and win ballgames."
Gallardo is hoping to stretch his next start out. He's not sure which affiliate that will be with, but he planned on throwing his next bullpen session at Camden Yards.