05/14/2013 7:36 PM ET
O's optimistic that Gonzalez will return next week
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Orioles righty Miguel Gonzalez will throw a side session on Wednesday, and the team is still optimistic that he will be eligible to come off the disabled list and make a start early next week.
Gonzalez played catch during Tuesday's batting practice with a protective splint on the blister on his right thumb, and he responded well. The main issue has been throwing his breaking ball, which he did on Tuesday. Assuming he gets through Wednesday without issue, Gonzalez would make a rehab start at the end of the week.
"It could be 2-5 [innings]. ... We don't want to push it too much," manager Buck Showalter said. "You see the date, but until that gets all the way healed, last thing we are going to do is have him come back too quick, and all of a sudden he's back to square one with the problem. And I've told you before, it's because it's a different type of blister. It's down to the rawness. Take your skin, cut it off and then try to pitch with it."
The Orioles -- who have a pair of off-days this week -- need a fifth starter again next Tuesday against the Yankees, and that is the target date for Gonzalez, although Showalter also mentioned Monday as a possibility.
Chen to DL; Jurrjens likely to start Saturday
BALTIMORE -- As expected, the Orioles placed starter Wei-Yin Chen on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain prior to Tuesday's series opener against the San Diego Padres, and the lefty will be sidelined for a couple of weeks.
"I'm very disappointed right now about my injury," Chen, who has been the Orioles' most consistent starter, said through interpreter Tim Lin. "The only thing I can do is just [let it heal] and come back and help the team."
After exiting Sunday's game with the injury, Chen had an MRI on Monday's off-day to confirm the injury, and he said he is focused on returning as quickly as possible. Oblique strains can be tricky and recovery typically goes longer than the minimum 15 days, making it tough to predict how long Baltimore will be without Chen.
"It's one of those things that's tough to handicap the severity of it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There's three grades, and I think his was in the middle.
"It's so hard to test it. Testing it might make it not heal as proper as it should. ... I don't know. I'm thinking best case scenario. As I said before, if you look at the history of these things, it gives you the idea that it is a little later than sooner. We'll take whatever comes our way."
In Chen's place, reliever Alex Burnett was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk for the third time this season, and the team added infielder Yamaico Navarro, replacing reliever Mike Belfiore, who was optioned on Monday.
The team will need a starter for Saturday in Chen's place, and Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette -- who has stockpiled starting pitching since coming to Baltimore -- said Monday that he felt confident with the organization's internal options.
Triple-A Norfolk's scheduled starter Saturday was Jair Jurrjens, and it's changed to TBA. Jurrjens is expected to be added to the roster and make his debut for Baltimore that day.
"Jurrjens has pitched well at Triple-A. He's throwing his pitches for strikes, and he's pretty solid," Duquette said of the right-hander, who has a 3.14 ERA in eight starts. "He's ironed out his delivery."
O's prospect Gausman won't be promoted now
BALTIMORE -- At this point, Orioles No. 2 prospect Kevin Gausman is not being considered for any kind of promotion. O's executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the 22-year-old right-hander is not in the Orioles' immediate plans.
"Gausman is doing fine," Duquette said of last year's first-round Draft pick, who has a 3.35 ERA in seven Double-A starts. "I'm going to tell you he's not a candidate for us to recall him. He's doing fine at Double-A, and he's getting used to professional baseball."
The Orioles have just three starters on their active roster right now with the injuries to Wei-Yin Chen (right oblique strain) and Miguel Gonzalez (blister), causing a roster shuffle and furthering concern over an inconsistent rotation. But the team remains hopeful that Gonzalez will miss just one turn, and Jair Jurrjens is expected to be added to the roster to start Saturday.
Gausman -- who will likely be in Baltimore before the end of the season -- is scheduled to pitch for Double-A Bowie on Thursday, and he doesn't necessarily have to pitch at Triple-A before coming to the Majors.
"What did we do with Manny Machado last year? Where did he go?" Duquette said. "Double-A is the real proving ground, if they do well there. I like to see players do well at Double-A and get a foundation so that when they do come to the big leagues, they can succeed. So the proving ground is Double-A.
"He's doing fine where he is. He's doing fine. He's getting his feet on the ground and learning about the routine of pro baseball."
Gausman has allowed 20 runs (15 earned) on 40 hits over 40 1/3 innings, striking out 39 and walking just four.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.