O's face decision after Gallardo's solid rehab start

O's face decision after Gallardo's solid rehab start

BALTIMORE -- Yovani Gallardo made it through his second rehab start on Tuesday afternoon for Triple-A Norfolk, leaving the Orioles with a decision: activate him to pitch in Toronto or have him make another rehab start. 

Gallardo allowed three runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in five innings for Norfolk against the Durham Bulls.

"It's coming out good, it's coming out sharp and it's breaking late in the zone," Gallardo told The Virginian-Pilot. "That's what I want to see."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said on Monday that it would be more about health than Gallardo's stat line in the 85-pitch outing, and he said on Tuesday that the outing "sounded pretty good physically."

"Regardless of how it felt, I think tomorrow and his work day will be a big day," Showalter said of Gallardo, who is expected to throw his side session with the team in Toronto. "Not big, but an important day. I think that's when we'll actually make a decision.

Gallardo was pretty confident he'd be ready with just two rehab games after his first start for Frederick.

In that outing last Thursday, Gallardo pitched three innings and gave up three runs at the O's Class A Advanced affiliate. Gallardo has been working his way back from right bicep tendinitis (April 23), and his return could add a boost to a rotation that has largely struggled the past month.

His fastball velocity has been much better than earlier this season, when he was in the mid-80s. He was 88-91 mph in his first outing and reportedly sat in the high 80s again on Tuesday. Showalter, asked if he put a lot into the improved radar readings, said -- in this case -- he does.

"It's one of those things [you say], 'Well, in spring, it will come, it will come. It's a typical Spring Training and it will come.' And it didn't. So here, I want to see it come," Showalter said. "I can talk about a lot of things he's done. People might say, 'Why didn't you do that before?' Well, it's a track record thing. You trust it. I think he's 11 pounds lighter than when he went on the DL, in a good way. He's gotten after it. I'm going to be real surprised if we don't get a return."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.