Here are some nuggets from Buck Showalter’s pregame news conference in Oakland:
** Chris Tillman (elbow) threw a successful bullpen on Thursday and will likely throw one more Saturday before taking the starting assignment Monday in Seattle. It will be Tillman’s first outing since leaving the mound on Sept. 2 due to elbow ligament inflammation.
The Orioles still list their starter for Sunday as TBA and Showalter said he hasn’t made the decision yet – he wants to see who he will need in the bullpen during this series. Sunday would be Jason Hammel’s normal turn, but he is dealing with a right knee injury and will be skipped at least once.
With Tillman starting Monday and Joe Saunders on Wednesday, the Orioles have two of their three pitchers set for the Mariners series, but Showalter has not yet made a call on who will start Tuesday in Seattle. It’s Miguel Gonzalez’s turn, but he could be skipped to give him more rest and manage his innings.
** Lefty reliever Troy Patton (ankle) will pitch the first inning Sunday in the Orioles’ initial instructional league game in Sarasota, Fla.. He likely will get in one more instructional league outing and then could join the Orioles in Boston. The Orioles have a work day Tuesday in Sarasota, but they could create a game-type situation for Patton.
** Jim Thome (herniated disk in neck) could also play in an instructional league game perhaps Monday or Wednesday. There’s no set timetable for his return, but it’s possible he could be with the team for its final homestand.
** Also, as part of a “random acts of kindness” promotion, roughly 100 full-time Orioles employees, including 11 players, will be giving out tickets to fans showing their Orioles’ support by wearing team merchandise or colors. The tickets will be for the upcoming homestand.