The Orioles have discussed possibly limiting the innings of their rookie pitchers in September or maybe even shutting them down at some point during the month.
O’s 21-year-old right hander Chris Tillman could understand if that happens, but he says right now, it’s not really necessary for him.
After throwing about 135 innings each of the last two seasons, Tillman is at 131 now between Norfolk and Baltimore.
“I feel great, other than that last start, it was weird, I felt drained. But other than that I feel like mid season shape.
“It makes sense, they don’t want to push us too hard, too far. Being competitive the way I am, I want to go nine innings each time. Right now my arm feels a lot better than it did last year at this time. Last year I felt like it kind of broke down toward the end of the season. But now I feel great”
Tillman threw over 100 pitches just three times in 18 starts at Triple-A Norfolk, but he’s gone triple digits in five of his seven Major League starts.
“There (in Norfolk) it’s a learning thing and here it’s about winning. That’s the reason they extend me a little more. I don’t think it’s too many more pitches, the most I’ve had here is maybe 110. It’s not too big a difference,” Tillman said.
What’s it like for him when he gets to that 100-pitch level?
“Personally, I don’t feel too much of a difference physically, but mentally it’s tougher. Every pitch you’re there 100 percent trying to make that pitch.
“With runners on base it gets even more draining. Physically, I feel like I could go 15 innings but mentally it is draining. But that’s all part of the learning curve.”
Tillman, who went 8-6, 2.70 in 18 Triple-A starts, is 1-2, 4.24 in seven starts with the Orioles.