6/5/2014 7:55 P.M. ET
Orioles watch as Draft's first round plays out
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Orioles were in unchartered water as the 2014 First-Year Player Draft kicked off on Thursday, but they aren't exactly asking for sympathy.
"We are sticking Nelson's face up on the board every time there is a pick in our slot made," manager Buck Showalter said of Cruz, who cost the Orioles a first-round Draft pick, along with Ubaldo Jimenez. "And Jimenez, too. Weird in a way. It actually gives you a chance to take some real chances. Some fliers. We'll get some good players."
Showalter has made it no secret he loves Draft day, and he typically has someone running up the runway to give him the picks during the game. This year, he'll watch Day 1 from the sidelines with the rest of the organization, while his son Nathan -- who works for the Padres -- will get his first taste of the Draft.
"I talked to my son when I was driving home the last two nights," Showalter said. "Listening to him doing the scouting jargon over the phone and not wanting to give up any information from the Padres."
Hunter to return Sunday, after rehab assignment
ARLINGTON -- Tommy Hunter will pitch for Class A Delmarva on Saturday on a rehab assignment, and the plan is for him to be activated off the disabled list on Sunday.
"He threw two innings today in a sim game -- it went well," manager Buck Showalter said of Hunter, who was out pregame in Texas getting his work in. "Covered first. So Saturday he will drive up to Delmarva, it's our only home team [that day]."
Hunter will drive back that night, and the O's will have to make a roster move to add him back prior to Sunday's game. Hunter's DL stay is retroactive to May 21 and the right-hander bounced back fairly quick from the left groin strain. Hunter joined the O's in Texas on Monday night and threw a side session on Tuesday.
Gonzalez eyeing weekend for return to mound
ARLINGTON -- Miguel Gonzalez got favorable results from Wednesday's MRI, and the right-hander is hoping he can avoid the disabled list and start at some point this weekend.
Gonzalez's results were negative for any serious injury and showing just some swelling and perhaps a slight pull in his oblique and abdominal area. Gonzalez, who was scratched from Thursday's start, will play catch on Friday and said the next 24 hours are very important in determining if he will land on the DL.
Manager Buck Showalter said Gonzalez is an "outside" chance to pitch on Saturday, and the club will recall Kevin Gausman from Triple-A Norfolk just in case. T.J. McFarland is another option to get the start.
"Until he puts a ball in his hand and throws, it's just impossible to handicap it," Showalter said of Gonzalez's chances this weekend. "He'd have to really go, 'Gosh I feel nothing. This feels great,' to be a candidate for Saturday. But how do you know he's going to come in the next day and feel the same? You can't have a starter spit the bit in the first inning and then have to cover eight more innings."
Gonzalez, who last pitched on Friday, estimated he's about 90 percent and obviously wants to avoid the DL if possible. He has thrown four consecutive quality starts for the Orioles and his DL stay would be backdated to his last start.
"We're not sure if I'm going to be able to throw Saturday. But based on what I feel today and what I was feeling earlier, I think it's a lot better," Gonzalez said Thursday. "Maybe I make the start Saturday or Sunday. I don't know. Definitely, I'm not thinking about going on the DL. That's for sure."
• Matt Wieters threw before Thursday's game for the fourth time since hitting the disabled list.
• Rule 5 Draft pick Michael Almanzar (knee) started baseball activities and has also been doing some pool conditioning.
• Steve Johnson (shoulder inflammation) started throwing light toss on Thursday, while Henry Urrutia (sports hernia) is slated to start running on Friday.
• With the Orioles getting in early this morning to Baltimore -- following a night flight out of Texas -- Showalter has a mandate that no players arrive before 4 p.m. on Friday. The team is not expected to take batting practice on the field, with only guys who are getting treatment coming in earlier.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.