Orioles notes: Chris Tillman on track for season debut Sunday, Stefan Crichton called up

Top Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who hasn't pitched yet this season because of shoulder soreness that stunted his spring training and landed him on the disabled list to start the year, is on track to make his season debut Sunday.

Manager Buck Showalter said Tillman's scheduled work day, between his most recent rehabilitation start Tuesday and a planned start Sunday, went well Friday afternoon. After consulting with head athletic trainer Richie Bancells during batting practice, Showalter said Sunday's start was on track.


That gives the Orioles their planned rotation from when they entered spring training for the first time all season, with Tillman slotting in after Wade Miley and Dylan Bundy, and before Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jiménez.

To this point, the rotation hasn't been the problem it has in the past. The starters entered Friday with a 4.23 ERA in 27 starts, ranking 17th in baseball. Miley and Bundy have been revelations in the first half, and with the expected rebound Gausman should enjoy after a difficult spring, the Orioles could end up with a formidable rotation if Tillman returns to form.

Whether that happens remains to be seen. He pitched through what was described as right shoulder bursitis last August and September. He then needed a platelet-rich-plasma injection and a cortisone shot in the offseason and spring training to knock out the discomfort.

He has made four rehab starts, with the most recent being five innings for Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday.

Crichton recalled: Reliever Stefan Crichton got a lucky break when the team decided to recall him to add an arm to the bullpen. Norfolk was finishing up a series in Charlotte, and the pitcher who was going to join the staff was either going to bus back to Norfolk from there and fly to Baltimore on Friday morning, or get a flight from Charlotte.

Crichton, it seems, got the latter, and Showalter lauded their decision.

"We know those are good little commuter bumps there," Showalter said. "Actually, [pitching coach Roger McDowell] was the one that kind of brought it up, and Roger told me today that the bus broke down to Norfolk. So that was smart."

Crichton, who revealed himself as an option for the major league roster this spring despite not being invited to major league camp, is in his third stint with the club. He has pitched in two games, and allowed three runs on nine hits in three innings.

It was a relatively quiet start to the season in terms of roster moves for the Orioles, but that changed recently. They've added six different pitchers in the past week.

To make room for Crichton, Tyler Wilson was optioned back to Triple-A after starting Thursday.

Around the horn: Former Maryland star Juan Dixon, who recently was hired as Coppin State's men's basketball coach, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday. … Showalter said that watching video, he can tell Chicago White Sox starter Miguel González is healthy and in command of all of his pitches. Showalter aid González is a good man who he still keeps in touch with. … The Orioles entered the game fourth in the American League with a .274 batting average with runners in scoring position. … Showalter said catcher Welington Castillo (shoulder tendinitis) is progressing well, and is on track to return at the end of the 10-day disabled list period.

Sun columnist Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.