Talking about Tillman, Reimold and Bell (updated)

Chris Tillman got through a scoreless first inning on 13 pitches. That’s quite an improvement over his last start in New York, when Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer in the opening frame.

Tillman’s fastball topped out at 92 mph against the Twins. His first heater registered at 87 mph, and the drop in his velocity has become a hot topic considering that he used to touch the mid-90s. He hit 90 at least twice, including his strikeout of Jim Thome to end the inning.

Jason Kubel singled with two outs on an 80 mph curveball.

Tillman has allowed 10 runs and 15 hits in 6 1/3 innings over two starts since no-hitting the Rays for six innings on April 2. The Yankees knocked him out of Wednesday’s game after totaling six runs and nine hits in 1 2/3 innings.

You could say that he’s pitching for his spot in the rotation, but there aren’t many viable replacements at this point.

Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Nolan Reimold is tied for second in the International League with 15 strikeouts. He’s fanned at least once in all nine games since April 8.

Third baseman Josh Bell also has struck out 15 times, and at least twice in all five games since April 12. He struck out four times in an April 14 game in Durham.

Bell had two walks in 159 at-bats with the Orioles last season, but he drew seven in 40 at-bats in spring training this year. So far, he hasn’t gotten a free pass with the Tides, making him one of only eight players in the International League with at least 30 at-bats and no walks.

Bell’s last walk with Norfolk came on July 27, 2010. He’s gone 46 straight at-bats without one dating back to last season.

Update: The second inning didn’t go quite so well for Tillman, who allowed a two-run double to Drew Butera among three hits. He’s thrown 37 pitches, 23 for strikes.

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