Orioles notebook: Chris Tillman expected to have his next start pushed back

Orioles starter Chris Tillman pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 7, 2015 in New York City.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 7, 2015 in New York City. (Al Bello / Getty Images)

Chris Tillman has continued to see improvement with his sprained left ankle, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he doesn't expect the right-hander to make his scheduled start Monday in Oakland. Tillman suffered the injury in the ninth inning of his start Wednesday and missed his scheduled work day.

"We would definitely want him to test that," Showalter said. "There is two parts to that. One, you test it on a work day, and then you see what the next day brings. Does it blow back up again? He doesn't have a whole lot of swelling. He is getting better every day."

Showalter doesn't expect the injury to require a stint on the disabled list, but the Orioles will likely need to call someone up from the minors for Monday. Showalter indicated that pitching right-hander Miguel Gonzalez on three days rest wouldn't be an option despite him only throwing 66 pitches in his last start Thursday.

"That really starts a domino effect with the other guys that we really don't want to get into," Showalter said.

The problem would come if Tillman wasn't ready Tuesday, either, because then Showalter would again be faced with the dilemma of starting someone on short rest or calling on someone from the minors.

Right-hander Mike Wright, who has started six games for the Orioles, won't be an option after he was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday. When he was recalled Friday, Showalter indicated Wright would be considered. But Wright came on to pitch Friday after the Detroit Tigers knocked Wei-Yen Chen out in the fourth inning, and felt tightness in his left calf.

While Showalter didn't list any candidates for Monday's spot start, right-hander Tyler Wilson seems to be the most logical option. He started for Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, so it would keep him on normal rest.

Wilson has a 2.12 ERA in five games with the Orioles this season, one of which was a May 28 start against the Chicago White Sox. The 25-year-old has a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts for the Tides this year.

Another option could be right-handed knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa, who started for Norfolk on Tuesday. Like Wilson, Gamboa is on the 40-man roster. Gamboa has a 3.53 ERA in 19 games (15 starts) with the Tides, though the 30-year-old has never made a major league appearance.

Wright headed to DL

Wright first felt his left calf tighten in his last start with Norfolk on July 26. It didn't cause him to alter his routine between starts, though, and the Orioles opted to recall him before Friday's game after they traded reliever Tommy Hunter.

The calf proved to be an issue again Friday night, only this time it was worse. Wright said he felt it grab after his final warmup pitch before the fifth inning when he went to step off the mound to allow catcher Matt Wieters to throw down to second base.

He stayed in for two batters, but showed discomfort walking around after Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez lined a one-out single. Trainers came out to examine him, and Showalter opted to pull him from the game.

"I was trying to downplay it into a cramp so I could continue pitching," Wright said. "It stinks now that I'm on the 15-day DL. Hopefully it's no longer than that and hopefully I can come back soon."

Wright had an MRI on Saturday morning, which he said revealed a Grade 2 strained left calf. He will fly to the club's training facility in Sarasota, Fla., on Sunday instead of traveling with the team on the West Coast trip that begins Monday.

Showalter and Wright remain hopeful that the pitcher will be able to return at the end of the 15 days But Wright said doctors gave him a timetable of two to four weeks. It is the first time he has suffered an injury to the leg.

"Hopefully it's just two weeks," Wright said. "Hopefully it's 15 days and I can come back and pitch again."

Rondon called up from Norfolk

The Orioles called up right-hander Jorge Rondon from Norfolk on Saturday after placing Wright on the DL.

Rondon, who the Orioles claimed off waivers from the Colorado Rockies on May 10, has appeared in 24 games with the Tides and has a 2.01 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old has 35 strikeouts and 10 walks.

He made his major league debut last season with the St. Louis Cardinals, tossing a scoreless inning on June 29. He appeared in two games for the Rockies this season — on April 28 and May 1 — combining to pitch one inning and allowing 11 runs (10 earned). In his May 1 appearance, he didn't record an out and allowed eight runs (seven earned).

Rondon, who last pitched for Norfolk on Wednesday, has been superb in the minors recently. Over his last eight appearances, he has struck out 13 in 13 2/3 scoreless innings.

Around the horn

Infielder-outfielder Steve Pearce, who hasn't done any baseball activities since going on the DL on July 22, said he hopes to begin doing some light running when he reports to Sarasota with Wright. Pearce said he was finally pain-free before Saturday's game and hopes to throw and swing a bat this week. … Outfielder Gerardo Parra got his first start with the Orioles on Saturday night, batting second and playing left field. He became the 1,000th player to appear in a game for the Orioles. …Catcher Matt Wieters made his first start at first base since 2011. It was the first time he played in the field on back-to-back days since July 6-7. The Orioles have refrained from starting Wieters behind the plate on back-to-back days since he returned from Tommy John elbow reconstruction.


Recommended on Baltimore Sun