FREDERICK - He faced Single-A hitters from the Potomac Nationals and he allowed three runs in three innings. But Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardo was upbeat about his rehab outing today for the Frederick Keys.
Over three innings and 59 pitches, he allowed seven singles and the three runs with two walks and four strikeouts. He is not sure where he will pitch next but the progress he has been making continued today, he said. Gallardo has been on the disabled list since April 23 with right shoulder tendinitis after going 1-1 with an ERA of 7.00 in four starts with the Orioles.
“I felt good,” he said after his outing at Harry Grove Stadium. “I think I had command issues a little bit. But you know, I was able to make pitches. First couple of innings just tried to move the fastball around. I was getting groundballs and that is definitely a positive sign.
“Good cutter, good sliders. The one into lefties and away from righties. I think it was a definite positive. It was just nice to get back out there and get on the mound for the first time in four or five weeks, whatever it’s been.”
Does he feel he could return to the Orioles rotation after just one more rehab game?
“Yeah, like I said I definitely feel good,” he said. “I’ve been feeling great ever since I started throwing. Think when it comes to a rehab start, what is most important is just to throw strikes and move the ball around. Obviously I think I threw 60 pitches today. Hopefully the next one 75 to 80 and I’m good after that. Hopefully I feel fine tomorrow and there is nothing there. Just a matter of getting into a five-day routine.”
Gallardo’s last big league game was April 22 in Kansas City when he left after two innings feeling shoulder discomfort that led to the DL stint. Was his stuff better today than what he showed in April?
“Yeah I mean, honestly, just by the way the ball is coming out of my hand, it definitely feels different,” Gallardo said. “It has that life but it is a little bit different pitching in High-A than the major leagues. Once you pitch in the big leagues, the adrenaline and there is a lot more going on. But I can definitely tell a difference just by the bullpens I’ve been throwing. Even today, the offspeed pitches had good rotation and sharp break towards the end and everything is coming out good.”
The Potomac Nationals had some well-placed singles today with few balls squared up (almost none) and there was a play or two behind him that the Orioles would make that the Keys did not. He gave up four singles and two runs in a 25-pitch first, no runs in the second and a run on two hits, including a bloop in the third.
A scout said Gallardo touched 90 with his fastball velocity in the first inning and sat 87, 88 often with his fastball in that frame.
Gallardo said the radar gun didn’t matter to him much today.
“I wasn’t even thinking about that to be honest,” Gallardo said. “The most important thing the first time out is just seeing how you feel and just command the fastball and move it around to both sides of the plate. I definitely feel the difference just by the way it’s coming out. I feel like it has that life behind it, sharp right there at the end. That’s what I’m looking for. Velocity, honestly I couldn’t even tell you what it was and I didn’t even ask. I don’t worry about it. I’m just worried about the way the ball is coming out of my hand and everything else will be there.”
Gallardo threw two bullpen sessions and a three-inning simulated game in Cleveland leading up to today’s start. When and where he starts next, he is not sure. For now he heads back to Baltimore and another bullpen session is likely to come next.
Gallardo said his shoulder continues to feel strong and he is pitching with no restrictions. He saw today as a step forward.
“Yeah of course,” he said after his night in the Carolina League was over. “Like I said, I think just getting back out there is definitely a step forward. It’s always tough with the shoulder issue. You really had to take it one step at a time. You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself, but it feels good. I was able to move the ball around, just trying to mix all my pitches. Pretty good stuff. I’m looking forward to the next one, wherever it might be.”