Tillman back to Norfolk

BALTIMORE– Chris Tillman was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Tuesday’s Orioles game, a move which cleared a spot on the 25-man roster for newly acquired Jake Fox.

“He needs to go and pitch more frequently than what we were able to offer him,” president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said of Tillman, who hasn’t appeared in a game since he was taken out of the Orioles rotation following June 14’s start.

Tillman dropped to 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA with that abbreviated outing against the Giants, which marked the second time in four starts that he 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 and the Orioles moved him temporarily to the bullpen. The move to the ‘pen was more out of necessity, with both interim manager Juan Samuel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz reiterating that Tillman’s future in the organization is as a starter.

“To continue the development of those guys, they need to go down there [to Norfolk] and pitch,” Samuel said.

At the time of his recall on May 29, Tillman was 5-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 starts for the Tides. On April 28, he pitched a nine-inning no-hitter against Gwinnett.

“Talking to some of the people that had [Tillman in the Minor Leagues, they said that he kind of eases his way into it and then later in the game, he starts adding velocity,” Samuel said last week. “We need to have it the other way around. I think he needs to pitch with more conviction. He needs to get in there and move those hitters, make them move their feet.”

Samuel wasn’t sure of Tillman’s schedule in Norfolk and given that it’s been more than a week since he’s started, Samuel said the Minor League staff will work on mapping out an exact plan.

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