Gonzo could return 3rd week in June

Orioles reliever Mike Gonzalez hasn't been completely ruled out for a June 9 return, the date he's eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list, but he'll probably need to wait a little longer.

Gonzalez has been advised to gear himself toward a return the following week, when the Orioles play road interleague games in San Francisco and San Diego. The West Coast opener is June 14, and the Orioles don't return home until June 22.

The Giants and Padres lineups won't include a designated hitter, and it would be a good way to ease Gonzalez back into major league competition. He also should be fairly comfortable in the National League, having pitched for the Pirates and Braves since 2003.

San Diego ranks 13th in the NL in runs scored with 189. San Francisco is 14th with 179. The Padres' .243 average puts them 14th.

The Orioles are encouraged that Gonzalez isn't feeling any pain in his left shoulder, but he needs to increase his arm speed through a spring training-type program. He'll eventually start pitching again at extended spring training and go on an injury rehab assignment before being activated.

Meanwhile, Nick Markakis will leave the team tomorrow to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. He'll return for Friday's game in Toronto.

Here's the Athletics lineup:
Davis CF
Barton 1B
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Sweeney RF
Rosales LF
Fox DH
Ellis 2B
Pennington SS

Cahill RHP


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