Notes on Stinson and Tillman

SARASOTA, Fla. - Josh Stinson can't relax.

The Orioles open their season in less than a week, Stinson hasn't allowed an earned run all spring, and he still can't relax.

Stinson isn't uptight about his chances of making the club, but he won't assume anything. His career path steers him away from such security.

"I've always been the type of guy who, until it's all said and done, I'm going to keep going out and doing what I'm doing. Or at least try to," he said. "Obviously, I can't say that I'm going to put up a zero every time. But until it's all said and done and I get the notice that, 'Hey, you've made the club,' or whatever decisions, I'm going to keep going out there and do my business, just like I have the other 40 days we've been here or whatever it is."

Stinson gave up one hit in a scoreless eighth yesterday, keeping his ERA at 0.00. He's allowed one unearned run and four hits in seven innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts in five appearances.

Just continuing what he did in the second half of last season, when he allowed only one earned run in 11 1/3 innings.

"I picked up some things in September there, and really in August when I came up, as far as mechanic stuff, and I wrote them down in my book at home," he said. "Like, remember next year when you start throwing, this is how you had success. And I feel like that's definitely helped me coming into this year.

"I got away from it a little bit yesterday. I got away with some pitches. But it's definitely, having that good ending last year I feel like sprung me into spring this year, and I kind of picked up where I left off, just attacking hitters with the fastball. Go after them, and then when you're ahead of them, bury them. Make them hit your pitch. Locate your fastball and go from there."

The notes in the book are a little more detailed.

"It was my front side," he said. "In the past, last year and even before that, my front side would open up early. I was really concentrating on keeping the front side closed and getting through it, and it helped me as far as direction. Everything was going toward the plate instead of flying out. I just wrote it down and told myself.

"Also, having that base where everything's on my back leg. It's like a gun. It's already loaded. So, as soon as I pick up, it's already loaded and ready to go, and there's only one direction it can go. It was just something I realized I was doing and I wrote it down. Have that feeling and remember the feeling."

I have a feeling that Stinson, who's out of options, will be in the bullpen on March 31.

A few lockers away, Chris Tillman told reporters that he's feeling much better after being scratched from Friday's start due to illness.

"It's night and day," Tillman said.

"It wasn't pretty. I can tell you that much. It wasn't good. Just stomach flu, I guess. I had a hard time telling if it was food poisoning or the flu, but they settled on the flu. It was really 24 hours of being sick, but it took me 48 hours to recover."

Tillman expects to throw a bullpen session on Monday and start one of Wednesday's split-squad games, most likely the night portion at Port Charlotte.

"I haven't talked to them yet, so don't hold me to it," he said.

Manager Buck Showalter intends to pitch Tillman five days before the opener, which would put him on the mound Wednesday.

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