Orioles move Chris Tillman up to Friday after short Opening Day start

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
The Orioles didn't want Chris Tillman waiting around to pitch again after Monday. Can you blame them?

When you pitch the way Chris Tillman did for the Orioles in his 22-pitch start Monday on Opening Day, four days' rest is just too much.

Manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday that Tillman would pitch on three days' rest, Friday in the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. That day’s planned starter, Mike Wright, is available out of the bullpen Wednesday and not starting until Saturday.

“We don’t want Chris to go four or five days without pitching again,” Showalter said. “He only threw 22 pitches … so I know he’s happy about that. So are we.”

Tillman seemed to be on pace for a great Opening Day, striking out five straight batters to end his start before a rain delay stopped the game for 70 minutes after the second inning.

He had initially been scheduled to come back Saturday after Wright pitched Friday, but the two were swapped, and the Orioles will get the chance to see whether Tillman can sustain his promising stuff from Monday sooner than planned.

After Wright, however, the rotation is up in the air. Tyler Wilson and Vance Worley are among the candidates to be the team’s fifth starter, which the Orioles would need Sunday unless the schedule is affected by the looming wet, cold weather.

Showalter said he won’t announce that starter until the team gets through Thursday.

“We’ll wait and see how the weather is tomorrow, because some of the weather we’re potentially getting could affect that,” Showalter said. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself."

Around the horn

* Right-hander Kevin Gausman threw 30 pitches during live batting practice in Sarasota, Fla., Wednesday, then got on a plane to Baltimore along with left-hander Brian Matusz, who also threw a bullpen session.

Matusz (back strain) will throw one inning in Double-A Bowie’s home opener Thursday, then go back there for an inning Friday before being activated Sunday. Gausman (right shoulder tendinitis) will make his first rehabilitation start in Bowie Saturday, pitching three or four innings. If that goes well, he’ll start High-A Frederick’s home opener on April 14 before being activated on April 19.

* Outfielder Jimmy Paredes (wrist) hit off a tee Wednesday.

* Showalter said the players will watch video after batting practice of the two plays so far this season where base runners were ruled out for violating baseball’s new slide rules on double plays. He said messages were relayed to Bowie manager Gary Kendall and Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson to ensure their players were up to speed on the new rules.

* South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim didn't take how he was received at Opening Day personally, Showalter said. Showalter did say it was difficult to know when to use Kim, given there's little track record of him against major league pitchers. Instead, Showalter has to go by type.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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