The club’s stopper did his best to slow the avalanche of concern and speculation over the decision to push him back to Saturday night against the Astros, the Orioles taking the predicable cautious approach after he informed them of lingering discomfort in the shoulder.
“It’s better,” Tillman said. “It’s definitely been getting better every day. I just woke up really sore after my last start. I didn’t feel a thing during the last one, which I think is a good thing. Just trying to stay on top of it and not be stupid about it.
“Do I feel like I could pitch? Yes, but I don’t think it’s the smartest thing for the team or myself.”
Tillman held the Athletics to two runs over seven innings Thursday night for the Orioles’ only win in the four-game series. He didn’t feel anything abnormal with is shoulder while posting his 15th victory.
“Zero, zero,” he said. “Just the next morning when I woke up, a little more sore than normal, so started working on it then and it just really never got any better. But it’s been getting better recently every day. It’s significantly improved.”
This is uncharted territory for Tillman in August.
“That’s why we’re kind of being careful with it,” he said. “I’ve had my aches and pains in August before, but nothing like this. But like I said, it’s getting better and I’m actually pretty optimistic about it.”
While Tillman is optimistic about making Saturday’s start, he knows how easily the mood can shift.
“You’re always confident. You never know, though,” he said. “I’m not going to do anything stupid by any means. You want to be smart about. But I think Saturday is a good spot to try to shoot for. That’s for sure.”
Pitchers go through what’s described as “normal wear and tear” at this juncture of the season. Tillman’s 25 starts are tied for second in the majors, but his 151 innings rank 20th.
“I think that has something to do with it, but if I knew everything, I think this probably wouldn’t have happened. But I think we’ve just got to rest it for a couple of days and see how it goes,” he said.
“It’s just uncomfortable. It’s not really bad. Like I said, if I really needed to I could pitch today. I think it’s probably a better idea not to. Your shoulder’s not something to mess with and push too far. Should be smart about it. I’m on the same page with everybody.”