Gallardo's first start back encouraging for O's

After nearly 2 months on disabled list, righty strikes out 5 in 5 innings

Gallardo's first start back encouraging for O's

BALTIMORE -- Orioles starter Yovani Gallardo stood at his locker after his first start since his near two-month stint on the disabled list and smiled. It was good to be back on the mound, but perhaps more importantly, it was encouraging to get results he hadn't before he was sidelined with right shoulder/bicep tendinitis.

His five innings, during which he allowed two earned runs on five hits and four walks, weren't stunning. But he gave the bullpen a chance to keep the Orioles in front in their 4-2 win over Toronto on Saturday.

"I've been feeling pretty good ever since I started throwing the baseball," Gallardo said. "I made some pitches whenever I had to. It's just good to be back out there once again. We got the win. I think that's the most important thing, is [it's] a big win for us."

Gallardo entered Saturday's game with a 7.00 ERA, but that stemmed in part from his velocity being down before he was hurt. In his three rehab starts, his fastball seemed to have more life, and it showed Saturday at Camden Yards.

The righty consistently hit 90 mph with his fastball and touched 92-to-93 mph on the stadium's radar gun.

"I think just feeling a little bit stronger, from the shoulder," Gallardo said. "I did a lot of hard work. It's three weeks' worth of shoulder stuff, every other day. I think that's obviously, you know, it's been showing. Just the way the ball's coming out of my hand ... command-wise and that sort of thing."

When his velocity was down in Spring Training, the Orioles were hoping it would sort itself out in April like it does for some other veteran pitchers.

"There was some concern early on, but you thought his pitch ability and getting into the lights and the adrenaline of the season takes care of that a lot from experience," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But it didn't. You knew he had an issue."

That issue seemed to be resolved Saturday as Gallardo stuck out five against a Toronto lineup that scored 13 runs the previous night.

In a rotation currently without a fifth starter, Gallardo's first outing in the Majors since April 22 held significant weight.

"To get that kind of start, I think it bodes well," Showalter said. "I'm excited about him the rest of the year."

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.