Pregame notes from Frederick, where Yovani Gallardo pitches today (updated)

FREDERICK, Md. - Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardo takes yet another step toward his return to the Orioles starting rotation later today at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium.

For the first time since he left his start April 22 after two innings at Kansas City, he will pitch in a game. It will be in a minor league rehab start for the Single-A Frederick Keys against the Potomac Nationals in Game 1 of a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.

Gallardo, who has been on the disabled list since April 23 with right shoulder tendinitis, is expected to go about four innings and throw 60 pitches. On May 22 in Anaheim he threw a 25-pitch bullpen session and followed that three days later with another of 30 pitches in Houston. Last Saturday in Cleveland he threw 45 pitches in a simulated game, all leading up to this start today. O’s manager Buck Showalter said he expected that Gallardo would need at least two rehab starts before returning to the Orioles.

Each step along the way Gallardo has been real upbeat about the progress he has made, including after his sim game last Saturday.

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“It went well,” he said Saturday. “Kind of simulated three innings. I felt pretty good. The curveball was coming out like the previous two bullpens. Offspeed pitchers were sharp. I’m pretty excited about how it all went today.”

Gallardo is the fourth Orioles player to rehab with the Keys this year, joining Kevin Gausman and former Orioles Brian Matusz and Jimmy Parades.

Frederick manager Keith Bodie said his Keys players can gain something from Gallardo being here tonight.

“It gives you an opportunity to glimpse into the future,” Bodie said. “In all the years I’ve been doing this with all the rehab guys that come down, some of them have a tremendous impact on players that you may not even notice. When you have the chance to be around a big league player, you want our guys to watch his preparation and how he goes about his business. That can be very helpful for a young player,” he said.

Gallardo will be with a Keys team that has lost two in a row, but has been playing much better since a slow start. The Keys went 7-16 in April, but were 18-9 in May with the best team ERA in the Carolina League for that month of 2.68. In fact that was the Keys best overall month since going 20-8 in July of 2011.

Frederick third baseman Jomar Reyes, the Orioles’ No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America, saw his bat cool off in May when he hit just .181 with one homer.

But bullpen lefty Tanner Scott has improved his season after he struggled in the first month. The Orioles’ No. 11 prospect has allowed just two hits and two runs over 16 innings since May 1. Opponents are batting just .043 (2-for-47) against him in that span. However, he has still struggled with his control walking 13 with 22 strikeouts in that stretch.

Frederick outfielder Jay Gonzalez, the Orioles’ 10th-round pick in 2014, is batting .257 in 41 games. But he leads the O’s organization with 27 stolen bases in 31 attempts. At his current pace he could steal 70 or more bases. That would still fall well short of the Keys’ single-season record of 95 by Tim Raines Jr. in 2001.

Frederick’s Wynston Sawyer and Matthew Grimes were named Tuesday as the Carolina League’s Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period ending Sunday. It is the second time this year that Grimes has won this award. It is the first time Frederick has swept both awards since Steve Bumbry and Nick Haughian were honored for the week of June 6-13, 2011.

In eight games, Sawyer, 24, hit .385 (10-for-26) with two home runs, one double, one triple and five RBIs to go with six walks and a stolen base. This month, Sawyer is batting .316 with two homers, 15 RBIs and 15 runs scored. He has walked 24 times and has a .481 on-base percentage and .954 OPS in May. Sawyer is batting .315 with an OPS of .970 for the season.

Grimes went 2-0 with wins over Winston-Salem and Carolina, and the Georgia native did not allow a run in 15 innings. A winner of four consecutive starts, the right-hander has not allowed a run in his last 21 innings and has given up just one run in his last 28 2/3 frames. He closes out May with a 5-1 record and a 1.12 ERA in six games. In 10 starts for the season, the Georgia Tech product is 7-2 with a 1.21 ERA.

Here is tonight’s Keys lineup:
LF - Jay Gonzalez
SS - Erick Salcedo
DH - Wynston Sawyer
1B - Aderlin Rodriguez
RF - Cam Kneeland
3B - Jomar Reyes
C - Jonah Heim
CF - Josh Hart
2B - Anthony Caronia

The International League announced the leaders of online voting for the All-Star game set for July 13. Triple-A Norfolk’s Audry Perez is second among catchers and Mike Yastrzemski is seventh among outielders.

Update: Gallardo allowed two runs and four hits during a 25-pitch first inning. He gave up some soft, well-placed singles and not a lot of hard contact, but they found holes. His top speed on the stadium radar gun was 88 mph, but Keys broadcasters say that the gun is routinely four mph under what is accurate.

Four of the first five Potomac hitters produced singles off Gallardo tonight. There was also a walk, a stolen base and two strikeouts as he stranded the bases loaded. Potomac’s Jose Marmolejos and Alec Keller had RBI singles off Gallardo.

In the second: Gallardo threw a scoreless second inning, pitching around a one-out single and two-out walk. A scout was nice to inform the media that he has touched 90 on his radar gun and his fastball mostly sat 87 and 88 mph with his cutter/slider around 85, 86 mph. Gallardo has fanned three so far.

In the third: Gallardo allowed two more hits and a run on an RBI single by David Masters. It looks like his night is done at three innings with seven hits and three runs, two walks and four strikeouts. He threw by my unofficial count 58 pitches.

Update: Gallardo is out of the game.

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