The Orioles also are considering Monday night, but they're leaning toward giving him an extra day. He's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Sunday.
Gonzalez threw 50-55 pitches in a simulated game today without a bandage on his right thumb. The blister appears to be healed.
Asked how he felt afterward, Gonzalez said, "Good, not bad. Thought it was going to be worse, but I felt pretty good actually. Throwing 25 pitches in the 'pen and coming in and throwing 50, 55, around there, felt pretty good. I was happy with my performance."
Gonzalez is ready to get back in the rotation.
"We have what, three more days until Tuesday? So, it's going to heal even better, it's going to be 100 percent then.
"I'm happy to be on the mound again, and being able to face my teammates was pretty fun."
Getting through the sim game was a big step mentally for Gonzalez.
"Yeah, you're always thinking about it when you're throwing a 'pen and whatnot, but now I'm over it," he said. "And it felt pretty good."
The reports on Jair Jurrjens, who starts Saturday against the Rays, state that, "If the command is there, he'll give us a chance to win," according to manager Buck Showalter.
Showalter wouldn't commit to more than one start for Jurrjens. He'll wait to see how the right-hander pitches Saturday.
Would the Orioles option infielder Ryan Flaherty, who isn't in tonight's lineup and is batting .133 in 29 games?
Jake Arrieta will start Saturday for Norfolk. He missed Sunday's start because of a strained right shoulder.
Norfolk first baseman Travis Ishikawa extended the opt-out in his contract. He could have left the organization, but elected to stay a while longer. He's batting .304/.383/.504 with 12 doubles, five homers and 26 RBIs in 36 games.
Danny Valencia made his first professional appearance in the outfield yesterday, starting in right for the Tides. He's in left field tonight.
For the Rays
Desmond Jennings CF
Matt Joyce RF
Ben Zobrist 2B
Evan Longoria 3B
James Loney 1B
Luke Scott DH
Kelly Johnson LF
Jose Lobaton C
Yunel Escobar SS
Jeremy Hellickson RHP