The Orioles have an interesting decision looming.
Veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo made his second injury rehab start this afternoon, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks in five innings for Triple-A Norfolk against the Durham Bulls, the Tampa Bay Rays’ top affiliate.
Gallardo gave up a home run – a two-run shot by Durham left fielder Jake Goebbert – and he struck out five batters. He threw only 49 of his 85 pitches for strikes. He was replaced in the sixth by lefty Ashur Tolliver.
This was the second rehab start for Gallardo, who has been on the DL with shoulder tendinitis since April 23. He pitched three innings and gave up three runs at High-A Frederick on Thursday.
Because he threw 85 pitches Tuesday, and because the Orioles were more concerned about him being healthy than the results, Gallardo is in line to pitch at Toronto on Sunday.
That would be a heck of a welcome back to the majors for the veteran who signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Orioles this offseason. In his first four starts with the Orioles before going on the DL, Gallardo was 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA, allowing 23 hits and seven walks in 18 innings.
So going into Rogers Centre against the Blue Jays’ vaunted offense seems like a daunting task after not exactly rolling over minor league hitters in two rehab starts. Although, in Gallardo’s favor, in his only regular-season appearance in his career at Rogers Centre, he pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said he wouldn’t be worried about pitching Gallardo against the Blue Jays in Toronto; it’s all the big leagues, he said. No opponent is easy. Besides, if it’s not the Blue Jays on Sunday it would likely be the Red Sox in Boston on Tuesday or the Blue Jays in Baltimore next weekend.
So, yeah, no option is easy.
Typically, in the past, the Orioles have been careful with their rehabbing players, choosing the more conservative route. And, if that’s the case this time, that would mean one more minor league start before bringing Gallardo back up.
They definitely could use a boost in the rotation, but they also need to make sure Gallardo is ready to provide that boost.
The club says it doesn’t worry too much about results in rehab assignments, but you also have to wonder if throwing so few strikes against minor leaguers will make the Orioles want Gallardo to work on his command once more before being on a big league mound.
That would be my thought, but the Orioles don’t usually ask me my opinion.