FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Tsuyoshi Wada signed his two-year contract with the Orioles this past offseason, he probably hoped his first spring with the organization would have gone a bit more smoothly.
The 31-year-old lefty has yet to make his official Grapefruit League debut, pushed back because of elbow inflammation that he first started dealing with in late February.
Wada has been making slow and steady progress. A cortisone shot seems to have helped and he emerged from a Wednesday simulated game very encouraged about how he felt.
Following a light side session on Friday, it appears the southpaw is ready to pitch in an official game on Sunday against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The plan is for Wada to go one or two innings pitching after Jason Hammel.
"I probably wouldn't let him go more than 30 pitches, but don't hold me to it," manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm hoping he can get two innings in, but I think Atlanta will have something to say about that."
Showalter would not rule out Wada working his way back to being a part of the Orioles' rotation, though the first step is to get him through Sunday's outing unscathed.
The typical progression for an injured pitcher would be to go from a simulated game to a Minor League outing, but Wada preferred to face big league hitters instead, a choice the Orioles readily endorsed.
"We gave him the option. He would rather pitch there," Showalter said. "We were hoping he would pick Atlanta. We want to expose him to everything as much as possible. You're going to get exposed to things that you wouldn't in a [simulated] game and in a Minor League game. He's physically ready to go."