Baltimore Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman follows through on a pitch at the first day of workouts for position players as well as pitchers and catchers on the field during spring training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman follows through on a pitch at the first day of workouts for position players as well as pitchers and catchers on the field during spring training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman tested his hip flexor with a 25-pitch bullpen session before Tuesday's workout at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

Tillman said he felt "great" following the session and was able to throw at full capacity without incident. He could make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

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Throwing off a mound for the first time since aggravating a muscle in his hip was a significant step for Tillman, who was scratched from his intrasquad game appearance on Sunday.

Tillman still was able to throw off flat ground and do conditioning drills, but had been held out of pitchers fielding practice and team defense drills.

"I've been throwing 100 percent flat ground," Tillman said before his bullpen session. "I'll probably start off easy. I'm not going to jump right into it, but see how it feels. I think the more comfortable I am, the closer to 100 percent I'll get."

Initially, Tillman was scheduled to pitch in one of the Orioles' split-squad games this coming Saturday, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that Tillman is slotted to pitch either Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater or Thursday at home against a New York Yankees split squad. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will likely start the game Tillman does not.

"I'm doing their part of it now, which is the process, and then I think the game part of it would be up to them," Tillman said. "They're a little smarter at it than me because I would have liked to pitch already, but I get it. I think it's safe because it is so early. The right thing to do."

Showalter said Tillman was still scheduled to have a precautionary cortisone shot this afternoon "to be on the safe side."

"Just to make sure the healing process takes place," Showalter said.

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