7/25/2014 11:29 P.M. ET
O's set to send Ubaldo on two-start rehab stint
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez threw a 44-pitch simulated game on Friday afternoon at Safeco Field and assuming he feels OK on Saturday will likely make a pair of rehab starts before returning.
Jimenez, who has been sidelined with a right ankle sprain, threw all of his pitches and faced coach Einar Diaz and outfielder David Lough, simulating two innings. He will throw a side session on Sunday before pitching Tuesday for Class A short-season Aberdeen.
"He feels good," manager Buck Showalter said of Jimenez, whose last start came July 5. "He walked off the mound, the first thing he said was, 'What's next?' He's ready to get this thing started. But he's going to have to get some innings."
Because Jimenez has thrown just a couple innings over the past 3 1/2 weeks, the Orioles are leaning toward him making two rehab starts. After Aberdeen, the tentative plan is for him to take a side day Thursday and then pitch for a higher-level affiliate on Aug. 3 or 4.
"I feel really good," Jimenez said of finally facing hitters. "Everything went fine today. I didn't have any problem with my ankle, I didn't have to keep thinking about it."
Machado returns to O's lineup on Saturday
SEATTLE -- Manny Machado was not in Friday's lineup for the fourth consecutive game, but the Orioles third baseman improved enough to be an available bench player, and Machado was back in the lineup on Saturday batting seventh.
"I could use him if I had to," manager Buck Showalter said of Machado, who has been sidelined with back spasms. "With the day game [Saturday] and the quick turnaround, he's a lot better. He's very close ... I think you will see him start Saturday or Sunday."
The 22-year-old came through pregame batting practice and infield Thursday with no issues. He's just waiting to be 100 percent so that this issue doesn't linger.
"The pain is getting less and less every day. We are just trying to be pain free before I get out there," Machado said. "Also, we are trying to not get in a situation we don't want to be in, which is go out there and get hurt again, which would push us back further along. So, we are going to treat it while it's going well. It's going well, so we are going to keep treating it and try to get it 100 percent and try to help the team."
Machado said his back has responded well to the rest and treatment, and the Orioles are trying to get in front of the injury -- which he called "an annoying feel" -- so he can play out the season.
"I want to eliminate it so it's not an issue at any other point this season," said Showalter, who has been using Ryan Flaherty at third base in Machado's absence.
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.