O's optimistic that Gonzalez will return next week

O's optimistic that Gonzalez will return next week

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.

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.