Tillman to BP, Os skip his next start

SAN FRANCISCO–The Orioles will skip starter Chris Tillman’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, using Thursday and Monday’s off days to offset the shorter turn. In the interim, Tillman will be moved to the bullpen temporarily.

The O’s won’t need a fifth starter until June 26 versus the Washington Nationals, and for now interim manager Juan Samuel said the team would rather an extra arm than a bat for Interleague play. Tillman –who allowed six earned runs over two innings in Monday’s loss to the Giants — won’t be available out of the ‘pen for Tuesday’s game, but could be used as a long relief man at some point during this six-game West Coast swing.

Both Samuel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz reiterated that Tillman will be a starter long-term with the organization and the move to is a temporary one that is more out of necessity.

When Tillman (0-3, 8.40 ERA) will make his next Major League start, however, is anyone’s guess. With the move to send Brad Bergesen back to Triple-A Norfolk, Kranitz confirmed that Bergesen could very well make that start on the 26th in place instead of Tillman.

Tillman’s loss on Monday marked the second time in four starts that he has failed to make it to the third inning. The 22-year-old’s lack of velocity –he didn’t break 90 mph — was particularly frustrating. Samuel said the key for Tillman, who typically tops out at 94 mph, will be to come out throwing hard and establish his fastball.

Without Tillman, the rest of the Os rotation will remain the same. Rookie Jake Arrieta will throw Sunday’s finale in San Diego. It’s important to note the decision to skip Tillman was one that Kranitz said the Orioles had already taken under consideration prior to Monday’s game. Since the Orioles have two off days in a span of a few days, a five-man rotation would give the O’s arms a week in between starts, which is something Kranitz was hesitant to do.

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