BALTIMORE -- Orioles right-hander Koji Uehara threw a simulated game Thursday and could return to the Baltimore bullpen this weekend.
Uehara has been on the disabled list since May 25 with a strained right forearm. His effort to return appeared to reach the final stage Thursday when he threw at Camden Yards with interim manager Juan Samuel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz looking on.
"I wasn't really worried about how I threw, stuff-wise. I was just worried if I could throw," Uehara said through a translator. "I'm ready to pitch. Whatever they tell me to do, I'll be ready."
He declared himself to be 100 percent, and Samuel was inclined to agree.
"Koji threw the ball very, very well," the manager said. "We're going to wait and see how he feels [Friday], then he will probably be activated if everything goes well."
Samuel said the move would not be made before Saturday.
After waiting a month to get Uehara back in the bullpen, the Orioles decided against sending him on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues.
"Right now he's ready to pitch, and we could certainly use him as a one-inning guy," Samuel said. "We don't see the need to send him out to rehab if we can use him here."
Uehara began the season on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He returned on May 6 and pitched in six games before hurting his arm.
Since signing with Baltimore before the 2009 season, the Orioles' first Japanese-born player has appeared in only 18 games.
As a starter last season, he was 2-4 in 12 games. This year he's 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA over five innings, all in relief.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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