Tillman off to slow start, leaves game with elbow stiffness

NEW YORK - Chris Tillman is struggling with his command in the early innings, having thrown only 18 of his 34 pitches for strikes through the second.

Tillman has walked two batters and thrown two wild pitches. Worse, he’s also served up a two-run homer to Chris Dickerson that’s given the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

Dickerson is starting in center field because Curtis Granderson injured his right hamstring during yesterday’s game. Dickerson didn’t have a major league at-bat this season before stepping to the plate in the second inning.

Tillman’s fastball was clocked at 89 mph on the home run. He struck out Derek Jeter on a 93 mph heater to end the inning.

Fans keep asking why Tillman isn’t throwing 97 mph anymore. As I’ve written, the Safeco Field radar gun is notoriously fast. He wasn’t throwing 97 against the Mariners. However, he’s acknowledged this season that his velocity has been down a tick during certain starts.

Phil Hughes retired the first seven Orioles today before Manny Machado singled with one out in the third inning.

The Blue Jays have altered their rotation for the series that begins Monday at Rogers Centre. Left-hander J.A. Happ is starting Monday, followed by Carlos Villanueva and Brandon Morrow. Henderson Alvarez is being pushed back and won’t face the Orioles.

The Orioles still aren’t listing a starter for Wednesday. Miguel Gonzalez would be working on normal rest.

UPDATE: Tillman has been removed from today’s game after three innings because of right elbow stiffness.

Tillman is charged with two runs and two hits in three innings, with two walks, two strikeouts, one home run and two wild pitches.

Randy Wolf is the 30th player to make his Orioles debut this season. He’s the 50th player to appear in a game for them.

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