SARASOTA, Fla. - Two of the Orioles’ top young pitchers were pitching at the same time today on adjacent fields in minor league games against Tampa Bay at Twin Lakes Park.
Chris Tillman gave up one run and one hit over three innings, throwing 46 pitches, 30 for strikes in the Triple-A game. He walked one and fanned four.
Dylan Bundy gave up a homer on the first pitch he threw against the Rays’ Double-A team and gave up another run in his second inning, allowing two during his three-inning, 46-pitch outing.
Tillman missed some time at camp with an abdominal strain, but he said he felt fine today and that is no longer an issue.
“Felt good. It was a good step in the right direction. Physically felt good and my pitches are coming along. From the first to the third inning, it came along real well,” Tillman said.
This being a minor league game, some innings end early and some may get extended beyond three outs pending the pitch count. For instance, Tillman faced just three batters, getting only one out and gave up an RBI double in a 15-pitch first. But he faced four batters in the third. He retired all seven hitters he faced over the last two innings, three on strikeouts and he looked pretty sharp doing so.
“It started out shaky, but got better as I went. I finished real well, where I wanted to be,” he said.
He did admit his curveball was shaky at times today and he is still looking for more consistency with that pitch.
“That breaking ball has been behind the whole spring,” Tillman said. “I’ve just been kind of babying it. Needed to throw some for first-pitch strikes in that last inning and I did. Felt good about it at the end.”
He is not feeling pain or discomfort anymore from the abdominal strain.
“Nothing right now. I felt good,” he said. “For the past week, I haven’t felt it. I feel like I am good to go and will get back on a normal schedule now.
“I don’t think I am too far behind. I think that’s why I threw on two days’ rest today to get back on schedule,” he said. “I think that was the main part of it. I think I will be back on a normal five-day schedule now from what I’ve been told.”
Bundy’s outing was a struggle for him early on as he threw balls on six of 14 pitches, with one walk, in the first inning and on seven of 19 pitches in his second frame. He gave up that leadoff homer and a long sac fly along with a pair of singles in his second inning.
“First two innings I was leaving the ball up on all the pitches,” Bundy said. “Change-up was down most of the day. First pitch, home run. It was right down the middle. Just trying to get ahead on the count. You don’t see that very often.”
This was Bundy’s first outing since he was optioned to Double-A Bowie by the Orioles. Was it a bit of letdown, pitching in front of just a few fans here after pitching in major league spring games?
“No, not too bad,” he said. “I got to throw 20 more pitches in the ‘pen. Getting my pitch count up was kind of a big deal today. Wanted to do that so I can throw (more) next week.
“Third inning was better, I was really pounding the bottom half of the zone, especially with my curveball. Threw it a lot more for strikes in that inning. It is nice going more than two innings now, I can get the feel of pitches and work through some stuff.”
Bundy was asked if he could be limited to shorter outings of five innings or so early this season so he has more available innings late in the year, kind of like how the organization handled his 2012 season.
“They haven’t really said too much to me about it, I’m sure they will,” he said. “I don’t know what the goal is totally. Hopefully 160 (innings), but I doubt it.”