Since his last start on Aug. 3 at home against the Tigers, Tillman has had eight days’ rest as he awaits his first appearance out of the Orioles bullpen.
“I’ve just been going out and doing what I would normally do,” he said this afternoon of the inactivity. “I’d normally play catch and try and stay ready. It’s new to me, so doing my best to keep my body ready. Pitching is pitching, regardless of what inning or where it is. But it’s going to be different, that is for sure.”
Tillman has been asking the other bullpen pitchers about the routine out there and getting some tips to try to be ready when the time comes.
“Yeah, but there is also a big difference,” he said. “Most of those guys have been out there a long time and that is their job. I’m out there because I haven’t pitched to my capabilities and you know, to kind of get back on track. Get where I need to be again. There is a little different mindset, but yes, I am taking little tidbits from guys. It’s kind of a whole new process.”
Tillman allowed six hits and seven runs (five earned) in that last start against the Tigers. He is 1-7 with an ERA of 8.10 through 15 starts.
Manager Buck Showalter said yesterday there is not a sense of urgency to get Tillman in a game.
“We’re trying to win baseball games every night,” Showalter. “If him pitching helps us with that, then we’ll do that. It’s that time of year. It’s always that time of year. If Chris has an element that we’re in need of that given night, he’ll pitch. Like I said, I think we’ll have a need for him starting again.”
Tillman said some things he had been working on to improve before he was yanked from the rotation are still things he is working on.
“I’ve been able to go out every day and play catch and work on those things,” said Tillman. “I feel like it’s more of get comfortable with it now. More of a daily routine and it’s actually in motion now. I am able to go out daily and get it done.”
Meanwhile, he is proud of his rotation mates and the recent run of good pitching they have put together. The O’s rotation has worked to an ERA of 2.51 the last 14 games, allowing two earned runs or less 10 times.
“Absolutely. It’s been a lot of fun to watch,” he said. “These guys have been throwing the ball real well, and I think it just goes to show what this team is capable of doing when your starter gets deep in the game and gives your team a chance to win. It’s been good.”
And maybe this move to the bullpen will be good for Tillman. A chance to step back, catch his breath, assess some things and try to get back to pitching well for the Orioles.
“I think it can, be, yeah. It’s all new to me,” he said. “I’ve seen it work with other guys. It’s new for me, so I can’t give a black and white answer on that. I’ve had the time to work on some stuff and try to get back to being me. So I think that is definitely a positive.”