BALTIMORE — Orioles starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo is moving closer to a return from the disabled list and will make what he hopes to be his final rehab start at Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday afternoon.
Sidelined since leaving an April 22 start with right shoulder tendinitis, the 30-year-old made his first rehab start at Single-A Frederick on Thursday, giving up three runs and seven hits while striking out four and walking two in three innings of work. Despite the unimpressive results, manager Buck Showalter was pleased with the reports from his first outing as few of the hits were squared up against a shaky Frederick defense.
“I feel fine. I feel great today,” Gallardo said on Friday. “A little soreness, which is expected. Nothing crazy or different than any normal soreless. It’s kind of my side or [latissimus muscle], which is a good sign. It means I’m getting full extension to release the ball.”
Gallardo is expected to throw 75 to 80 pitches in his next rehab start, which should stretch him out to the point where he could be activated to pitch during the Orioles’ next road trip. Showalter preferred to see the veteran compete against higher-level hitters in his second start instead of simply staying close to Baltimore at a lower affiliate.
On Thursday, his fastball velocity reportedly averaged 87 to 88 mph and occasionally touched 90, according to reports from Frederick. Gallardo’s average fastball velocity over his first four starts was 87.2 mph, according to FanGraphs.
“I can actually feel the ball coming out of my hand good,” Gallardo said. “That life and that late break on the slider and the curveball and changeup and all my pitches [was there] instead of just staying flat and not feeling that finish through the zone. I think that’s another reason why my lat’s a little sore just from getting that full extension and finishing off my pitches. That’s where you get that life on the baseball and that good stuff through the zone instead of not feeling it.
“I was excited. I’m not worried about it.”