Results tagged ‘ Chris Tillman ’

Odds and Ends….

*Corey Patterson (bruised heel) is available to play tonight off the bench.
*Juan Samuel said Josh Bell hasn’t been playing much because Miguel Tejada was brought here to play third base. (Or perhaps they are trying to shop him and want him to play as much as possible.)
*The Orioles roster situation is going to get a lot crazier later this week. You can read about today’s moves here. Besides Bell, I can’t think of a front runner roster casualty. The team could go about 10 different ways and it will be interesting to see what Andy MacPhail does…
*On the move to send Chris Tillman to Norfolk…I’m not sure about this one. While Tillman is inconsistent he has proven to be dominant at Triple-A. It’s the easy choice to get Millwood back in the rotation, but sooner or later it’s going to mess with these young kids heads to keep sending guys like Brad Bergesen and Tillman back-and-forth. Not sure I agree with this move or how the young pitchers are being handled. As a key part of the O’s future, they have to tread carefully.
*Tillman will likely start Saturday in Norfolk. 

Samuel said no demotion for Matusz

Interim manager Juan Samuel said there has been no talk of a demotion for 23-year-old Brian Matusz, who lasted a season-low 1 2/3 innings on Sunday afternoon. Matusz allowed six earned runs and threw just 52 pitches to mark the shortest stint of his career.

Samuel said sending Matusz to Norfolk –which is what the team has done with Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman at different points this season — is not in his mind, and he made it clear on a follow-up question that the case was closed.

As for the long chat he had when he removed Matusz, Samuel said it wasn’t injury-related. He just wanted to know how Brian was feeling.

“I was basically asking him if he was uncomfortable on the mound today,” Samuel said. “He said he felt like he was yanking, pulling the ball too much there.”

Matusz joins teammate Jeremy Guthrie for the most losses in the American League, and is now 3-10 with a 5.21 ERA. It’s a far cry from the predictions this spring, with scouts raving about his Grapefruit League showing and several national outlets pegging Matusz as a leading candidate for American League Rookie of the Year.

Matusz has lost more games (12) in 27 outings for Baltimore than his entire collegiate career at the University of San Diego, where he lost just nine games in 45 starts (48 total outings.) Samuel said the Orioles hope the losing won’t have any damaging mental effects on Matusz in the long term.

“Well we are hoping that will not be the case,” Samuel said. “He’s a tough young guy, he’s got a lot of confidence.”

Tillman on track for Saturday

A lot can change, but it appears Chris Tillman will make Saturday’s start in Texas. Given the Orioles overused bullpen the first two games in Detroit, using long man Mark Hendrickson would leave only one long man, Jason Berken for a four-game set against a lethal Rangers lineup.

Tillman is already on track to make that start for Norfolk, so he would be able to stay on schedule. Plus, it would afford the Orioles a full bullpen to work with. In three starts since his demotion, Tillman is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA and
has allowed just 10 hits and five walks while striking out 13 in 21 2/3
innings. He’s dominated at Triple-A and would learn more –not to mention be significantly challenged — at the Major League level.

“He’s [scheduled to pitch] right on that day. It makes sense,” pitching coach Rick Kranitz said of tabbing Tillman for Saturday. “We need some length in the bullpen is what we need, we pushed Berken and [David] Hernandez back, to the end of the game, and if Hendrickson then becomes a starter we don’t have a lot of length. It makes more sense that he would come up and pitch for us.”

While Tillman has struggled in the big leagues this season, going 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA in four starts, Kranitz isn’t worried about him losing confidence.

“I think the experience is invaluable,” Kranitz said of bringing up young guys like current O’s starter Jake
and Tillman rather than letting them dominate for Norfolk.
“Obviously you don’t want them to get beat up [in the Majors] but you
got to be a tough guy up here.”

“I’ve seen it before, guys will go down [to Triple-A] and pitch pretty well and come up and maybe scuffle a little bit. But that’s part of the process. [Tillman] will put it together, it’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later hes going to come up here and its going to click. And he will say, ‘Ok, I don’t have to give these guys as much credit as I have.'”

Tillman, Salazar named IL All-Stars

Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Chris Tillman and outfielder Jeff Salazar were named to the International League All-Star squad today.

The team consists of 30 IL standouts who will take on the Pacific Coast League’s best in the 23rd annual Triple-A All-Star Game, slated for July 14 in Lehigh Valley. First pitch is set for 7:07 p.m. eastern time and can be seen live on MLB Network.

Tillman is 7-4 with a 3.07 ERA combined in two separate stints with the Tides. Salazar entered Wednesday afternoon’s game hitting .284 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs.

Tillman Thursday in Norfolk

Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk yesterday, will start tomorrow for the Tides.

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said he wasn’t sure how long Tillman’s outing will be given that he hasn’t pitched in a game since June 14. Tillman also had a stomach bug on Sunday –the last day of the O’s West Coast trip — and didn’t throw at all.

Kranitz said they will probably evaulate Tillman on an inning-by-inning basis down in Norfolk, but guessed he’d probably throw around 80 pitches.

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.

Bergesen's start and things to watch for…

Brad Bergesen threw for Triple-A Norfolk tonight, and yielded two runs over five solid innings against Lehigh Valley. He allowed five hits and a walk and struck out four. Pitching on three days rest –which puts him in line for Saturday’s start in Baltimore if needed — Bergesen threw 58 of his 85 pitches for strikes.

Interim manager Juan Samuel said last week that Bergesen had to show he had returned to his mechanics, while pitching coach Rick Kranitz wasn’t ready to just hand Bergesen Saturday’s start. Kranitz didn’t say what it would take for Bergesen to earn the promotion, so I’m not sure if tonight’s effort was good enough. As I blogged yesterday, the decision isn’t just Bergesen or Chris Tillman. The Orioles have given thought to using long man Mark Hendrickson or even Jason Berken. (Although Berken has done so well it’d be hard to justify moving him out of the ‘pen, even if it is just a spot start.)

Monday is an off day so they could feasibly let Bergesen get another outing in Norfolk and go with a four-man rotation next week, following Saturday’s spot start.

Either way, there could be some changes coming this week to the roster. If Tillman doesn’t get Saturday’s start, he will likely be optioned back to Norfolk since the organization has made it clear they won’t let him just sit in the bullpen. If Bergesen earns the spot they could call up a reliever or a position player to have for the next few days before making the starter move official. 

Another thing to watch for is the Orioles interest in Jake Fox, which could cost Garrett Atkins his roster spot.

In unrelated, but positive news, Felix Pie’s first day on rehab in the Gulf Coast League went off without a hitch. He could be back at the end of the homestand, which, of course, would cause some more shuffling.

Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold is starting to heat up in Norfolk with a five-game hitting streak entering Tuesday. Since going 0-for-3 on June 15, he is 9-for-20 with two doubles and three RBIs.   

Orioles off, but Bergy will pitch

The Orioles will watch Brad Bergesen’s outing in Triple-A Norfolk very closely on Monday, as a solid performance will most likely result in Bergesen making Saturday’s start against the Nationals. To clarify on a few emails I got, Stephen Stasburg will not pitch in that series against the Os this weekend.

It’s likely Chris Tillman won’t either, but it’s still an option. If the O’s elect to go with Bergesen there will likely be a roster move on Tuesday. since they don’t want Tillman sitting in the ‘pen. They will want to get him a start at Norfolk and perhaps call up an extra arm for a few days before naming Saturday’s starer.

I know Mark Hendrickson was a possibility for Saturday’s start, but he hasn’t looked that great in his last few outings. Jason Berken has done so well in the ‘pen, I’d have to think they’d be hesitant to call on him for a spot start.

Stay tuned.

Saturday's starter

How do people get anything done here in San Diego? Honestly, it’s beautiful. And perfect.

Brad Bergesen
started last night at Norfolk and will make his next start on three days rest so he’s in line for Saturday’s Orioles game against the Nationals. As long as he gets his mechanics right (aka his sinkerball returns) he will make that start. He’s the O’s preferred option, and that move would put Chris Tillman back in Norfolk’s rotation.

Tillman decision looms

SAN FRANCISCO — With a final decision on Chris Tillman expected when the team gets back to Baltimore, interim manager Juan Samuel reiterated Wednesday that the 22-year-old will remain a starter. The only question is whether Tillman’s next outing will be with the Orioles or Triple-A Norfolk.

“We look at these guys as being starters,” Samuel said of a young core that includes Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Tillman. “If it means for [Tillman] to go back down there [to Triple-A] and get some work, then we are going to have to do that.”

Tillman allowed six earned runs over two innings in Monday’s loss and will be in the bullpen for the rest of the Orioles’ road trip, which includes a three-game weekend set in San Diego.

“Whether it’s starting or relieving, I just want to get myself back on track,” said Tillman, who is 0-3 with a 8.40 ERA. “I don’t think there is a person that wants to see me get back on track more than [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] and myself. He cares so much. I’m working hard, trying to get myself back to normal.

“I think it’s killing him because he’s seen me so much better, and I have to get back to that state. I think that’s why we’re going this route.”

Although the move to the ‘pen is temporary, Tillman was looking forward to working out some of his issues in long relief.

“I’ve talked to guys and they said coming out of the bullpen, you have a better feel of the game — the way they look at it, the way they see it,” Tillman said. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re kind of talking about. It will be a new approach to it. It’s a whole different ballgame out there.”