SARASOTA, Fla. - The Chris Tillman situation just took an interesting turn.
The Orioles placed Tillman on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22 with a left abdominal strain.
Tillman remains eligible to return on April 6 and pitch the fifth game of the season against the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards. It’s possible that he still could pitch Friday against the State College of Florida in a rehab start.
Update: Tillman is still scheduled to pitch on Friday. The DL move doesn’t impact his start.
Earlier today, manager Buck Showalter indicated that a decision on Tillman would be made after Friday’s start. Instead, the club announced the DL move about 45 minutes before the start of tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
It makes sense on a few levels. Tillman can still be counted among the five starters, but he won’t take up a spot on the 25-man roster until April 6.
Today’s move should enable the Orioles to keep Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland. Putting Tillman on the DL was one method for holding onto him. Otherwise, the Orioles could have made a trade.
Tillman pitched in two Grapefruit League games this spring, allowing two runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. He had been shut down with the abdominal injury and made a few starts at Twin Lakes Park.
Also, the Orioles reassigned outfielder Trayvon Robinson to minor league camp.
Robinson has been unable to play since March 24 because of tightness in his lower back. He was 14-for-43 (.326) with four doubles, two homers and seven RBIs in 22 games.
The Orioles acquired Robinson from the Seattle Mariners on Nov. 20 for infielder Robert Andino. He was removed from the 40-man roster to make room for pitcher Todd Redmond, who was recently claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Orioles have 32 active players in camp, plus Tillman, including five non-roster invitees.