Tillman to be activated, Johnson likely optioned for Wednesday
Pitcher Chris Tillman was in the Orioles clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon, as the 24-year-old will be activated and make his season debut in Wednesday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners.
“This is what I’ve worked all season for,” said Tillman, who had an impressive spring and flew, along with outfielder Xavier Avery, to the West Coast early Tuesday morning from the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk. “I’ve gotten in a good routine and it’s working well. I’m real excited.”
Tillman is 8-8 with a 3.63 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings in 15 starts with Norfolk this season and said Tuesday he still wasn’t sure what was up even when he was scratched from Monday’s start. He threw a bullpen session instead and was told by Tides’ manager Ron Johnson afterwards that he was getting the call to join the Orioles.
While excited for the opportunity, Tillman stressed carrying over the same routine that has made him successful with Norfolk and hopes to avoid the pitfalls that has resulted in a shuttle back-and-forth from the Majors over the past three seasons. He is a career 7-15 with a 5.58 ERA in 36 games.
“I was on a pretty good run down there,” said Tillman who has posted a 2.88 ERA in his last 10 starts, posting 66 strikeouts against 15 walks over that stretch. “Having guys like Jamie Moyer and J.C. Romero down there really helped. I can’t tell you how cool that was, and talking to them about your routine. I think I learned a lot working down there.
I’m happy with where I’m at and I’m confident in it. I think that’s the most important thing, being confident in it.”
While the corresponding roster move for Tillman hasn’t been announced, the Orioles will likely send out a reliever given the state of their bench, which has just three players including backup catcher Ronny Paulino. Optioning right-hander Steve Johnson, who was recalled prior to Monday’s game, is the most logical scenario.