Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, the team's stalwart starting pitcher, on Monday began his road back from shoulder bursitis that landed him on the disabled list for just the second time in his career.
While running from his locker to get back into the treatment room, Tillman said his first flat-ground session was "very good," and manager Buck Showalter reiterated that.
"Tilly threw good today," Showalter said. "That went well, flat ground. That's encouraging. He'll take tomorrow off and do it again Wednesday, and if that goes well, probably start moving towards the mound, which would put him with the potential to reach the best-case scenario when we DL'ed him. That was good."
Tillman has now been dealing with the shoulder issue for roughly three weeks. He was pushed back from a scheduled start on Aug. 17 to Aug. 20 to give it time to rest. When he pitched on Aug. 20, he couldn't locate his pitches with any consistency in a two-inning outing. He insisted he was fine, but then had an issue in his bullpen session on Aug. 23 that caused him to go on the disabled list.
Showalter this weekend hinted that Tillman wouldn't need any rehab outings in the minors to get himself back into game action. He mentioned Sept. 9 or Sept. 10 as possible dates for Tillman's return. As Showalter noted, one can't read too much into a promising workout on flat ground, considering that's what happened before Tillmans' Aug. 20 start, too.
"Flat ground, it's playing catch," Showalter said. "That's what it is. …but he didn't feel anything. He felt good. But of course, the same thing last time too. A very similar path."
Tillman is 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 26 starts.
Orioles host Centrowitz: Traffic prevented Olympic champion distance runner Matt Centrowitz from throwing out the first pitch at Monday's Orioles game at Camden Yards as scheduled, but the first American to win the gold medal in the 1,500 meters since 1908 made sure he brought his hardware to the park.
Centrowitz, an Arnold native and Broadneck High School graduate, was still recognized between innings during the team's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, and his gold medal was along for the ride.
"It hasn't really sunk in," Centrowitz said. "It was surreal then and it's surreal now to wake up and kind of refer to myself as an Olympic champion. … When it actually happens, it's mind-blowing.
Centrowitz admitted to growing up in a Yankees household, but said he's followed the Orioles as his hometown team.
"My parents grew up in New York, so I was kind of raised a Yankees fan," he said. "So don't hold it against me. I was born and raised in Maryland so I tried to take my path that way … I've been to so many games over the years here at Camden Yards."
McFarland optioned: The Orioles on Monday optioned left-hander T.J. McFarland to Triple-A Norfolk, a day after he was designated for assignment in what turned out to be a procedural move.
Because McFarland has been on the 40-man roster for three calendar years, the Orioles needed to put him through optional assignment waivers in order to option him to the minor leagues.
As such, he was off the 40-man roster for a time Sunday and Monday until he cleared optional assignment waivers, and then the team added him back to the roster and optioned him to the minors.
Around the horn: Orioles reliever Darren O'Day and his wife, Elizabeth Prann, presented a check for $35,000 to the United Service Organization on behalf of Orioles REACH. The team donated proceeds from their July 4th jersey auction to the military services group, and a dozen players, including O'Day, were in the center field picnic area before the game for a barbecue for USO families.