Talking to Tillman and Paulino

SARASOTA, Fla. - Manny Machado is on the travel roster today. Manager Buck Showalter just can't quit him.

Nolan Reimold is still scheduled to play Tuesday. The swelling on his left cheek has gone down considerably.

Chris Tillman was ambushed by reporters this morning after throwing three scoreless innings yesterday against the Red Sox and hitting 95 mph with his fastball.

"I enjoyed it. It was fun. It was good to get back out there," he said.

"Physically, I felt good. Stuff was good. My off-speed is still not all the way there. It's still something I've got to work on, get that back, but for the most part I was happy with it."

Tillman made it a priority to pitch lower in the strike zone yesterday after repeatedly getting the ball up in his previous outing.

"We worked on some things in between starts and it went well," he said. "It was much better yesterday. I was happy with it. We're going to continue it probably today and until my next start, as well, and hopefully get the same results."

Tillman is able to repeat his delivery more often now that he's stronger from his winter workouts with Brady Anderson in Irvine, Calif.

"Absolutely," he said. "In the past, I wasn't strong enough to repeat my delivery. Being in better shape now, I'm able to do it. It's much easier to throw that way, pitch that way. Nice and easy. It felt good."

Is Tillman a much better pitcher now than previous springs?

"I learned a lot last year," he replied. "It was a tough year for me, especially toward the end, and I felt like I learned a lot going into the offseason and it kind of lit a fire underneath me. Hopefully, I've come a long way. I'm excited with where I'm at right now."

The extra velocity on his fastball has given him more confidence to throw it.

"That makes a difference," he said. "At the same time, I'm more comfortable with my delivery, which gives me the confidence. I know it's there for me. They both play a role in it. Just having confidence is big factor. I feel like, when you're confident in your delivery and happy with it, you have confidence to throw it."

Catcher Ronny Paulino also drew a crowd to his locker this morning, simply because he was sitting in front of it.

I hadn't seen Paulino until today, though he reported to camp a few days ago. Visa issues kept him away.

Frustrating?

"A little bit," he said. "You know everybody's starting and everybody's here, and you're not."

It took longer to get the visa than Paulino anticipated.

"I thought this year was going to be easier than last year," he said. "I think the difference this year is I signed a little bit later than last year."

Paulino has been working out over the winter and said it won't take long "to get untracked." However, he must learn a new pitching staff in a relatively short amount of time.

"That's always a challenge, especially for me the past two years," he said. "Even when I got to Miami, it was one day before the season started and it was the same thing."

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