Tillman on Tillman

SARASOTA, Fla. - Kevin Gregg allowed a hit and walk and struck out a batter in one scoreless inning.

Matt Wieters’ two-run single in the bottom of the eighth tied the game, 3-3, and Ryan Adams followed with a single to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead.

Chris Tillman told reporters that he’s changed his delivery in the later days of camp, which is interesting timing as he tries to make the team.

“I think I felt OK today,” he said. “I was talking with Goose (Mark Connor) and Wieters, talking about how seven, eight out of 10 pitches, I felt good, and the other two or three, I was going back to my old self and kind of got away from myself a little bit. I had a lot of deep counts today and that can’t happen. But other than that, I thought it went OK.

“It’s pretty much my whole delivery. As you can see, my tempo is much faster, much quicker. I don’t have that hitch in it anymore. I think it’s going well, actually. Been working on it for two outings now. Overall, I’m pleased with the way it’s going.

“I just wanted to focus on my game plan, which is working on my delivery. That’s what I’m going out there trying to do, get better for my teammates. That’s what that consisted of. I felt the last bullpen, the last start and this one, overall things are coming together pretty nicely.

“I think it makes me feel much better, more consistent with everything - my cutter, curveball, changeup, fastball. It helps me be more consistent throughout the game. Today I got through 5 2/3 with probably the worst stuff I’ve had all spring, which is a positive thing. Looking at that, I’m pleased with the way it’s going.”

Tillman has tried not to dwell on the importance of his last few outings.

“It is tough, but like I’ve been saying all spring, I just try to go out there and focus on what I’ve got to do,” Tillman said. “I’m working on a whole new delivery here, so that takes a lot of my focus away from that kind of stuff, which is a good thing, I think.”

Has Tillman done enough to make the team?

“I can’t answer that,” he said. “They’ve told me the things to work on and I felt like I’ve worked on them, and they said they’re happy with the way it’s going and I’ve got to keep working. The two or three percent, I feel like I’m trying to go back to my old self. I’ve got to fight myself and battle myself to make the changes.”

Will he be nervous Thursday when the opening night roster must be set?

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I did all I could in the off-season. I did the best I could out here. I’m just working on things so I’ll be more locked in on getting myself ready to go.”

Is he a better pitcher now than he was last year at this time?

“Absolutely,” he said. “With the changes I’ve made, I’m more consistent, my pitches are better, more crisp. Later in the game today, that was probably the worst stuff I’ve had all spring, and to still be able to get guys out like that, I think that’s a positive.”

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