Miguel Gonzalez still hopes to pitch in a minor league game later this week

That blister on the right thumb of Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is finally healing. The Orioles are hopeful he can pitch in a minor league game, perhaps as soon as Thursday, which could line him up for a return to the rotation next Monday or Tuesday against the Yankees.

Manager Buck Showalter said today that Gonzalez might not even need to throw six or seven innings in what could be one rehab start and could just throw between two and five innings.

But Gonzalez, who is eligible to return from the DL as soon as this Sunday, still has not thrown a bullpen session.

"I will be playing catch today with the Band-Aid (on) to see how that feels. Haven't played catch in three days. It's getting a lot better. There is no redness anymore and it doesn't look raw anymore," Gonzalez said.

If he comes through today fine, he could throw a bullpen session as soon as tomorrow.

He said that pitching somewhere in the minors Thursday or Friday remains very much in play.

"I think that is doable," he said. "We're just, like I said, we have to take it day-by-day. You feel helpless not being to play with a blister. It's tough. Hitters, it's a little different than for a pitcher. The positive thing is we have some days off and that is going to help a little."

While Gonzalez is getting a little anxious to return to the rotation, he also wants to make sure he comes back when he is healed and not before. And that is even with the news that Wei-Yin Chen is now joining him on the disabled list.

"If we rush it and I had to miss another two or three weeks, we don't want to do that. I want to be ready to go and be able to perform 100 percent," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez is 2-2 with an ERA of 4.58 over six starts. His last outing was May 3 in Anaheim and he gave up six hits and three runs in six innings against the Los Angeles Angels. Gonzalez had to leave that start after just 80 pitches due to the blister.

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