BALTIMORE -- Baltimore's bullpen may be getting a bit crowded, with the Orioles now carrying 12 pitchers, but there's no doubt they will clear a little space on Friday when closer George Sherrill is expected to return to active duty.
Sherrill, who has been on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 16 with left shoulder inflammation, threw a successful simulated game on Wednesday afternoon and, pending a good report on his recovery on Thursday, will finally come off the disabled list on Friday.
"Sherrill threw very well, and if he's OK, we'll get him back on the roster on Friday," said manager Dave Trembley on Wednesday afternoon. "But I won't know that for sure until we see how he feels, but I would expect that's what's going to occur. I thought he looked good today so we'll look forward to getting him back."
Sherrill threw roughly 23 pitches to six batters in Wednesday's simulated game, reported no pain in the afflicted shoulder and declared himself ready to be back on the roster.
"Everything went pretty good," Sherrill said. "Command felt like it was pretty good, timing felt pretty good, so all in all, it went well. I think [the pain is] gone. The rest helped, the medicine finally kicked in and is working. It felt fine as soon as I started throwing."
The Orioles closer, who had already tallied 31 saves with a 4.47 ERA prior to landing on the DL, has already thrown a career high in innings this season with 50 1/3. Sherrill was integral to the Orioles' early success this season, a pivotal part of their bullpen that was hailed as one of the league's best for much of the first half of the season.
Since Sherrill landed on the DL, the Orioles have gone 3-15, including losing streaks of five and eight games. Sherrill's return likely won't have too much of an impact on the team's final standing, with just 18 games left to play, but without question his return will provide a boost to a much beleaguered pitching corps that has given up 135 runs during Sherrill's absence.
"I don't think I have the luxury of easing anybody in," Trembley said when asked whether he planned to use Sherrill immediately. "I think I'd have to put him in his role and go from there. The only thing I probably would have to think twice about is using him on back to back days. I don't think that would be a prudent decision to do right off the bat, but he's a closer, and so that's the role he would be put in."
Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.