Orioles pregame notes: Buck Showalter on Chris Tillman, Rich Hill's perfect game bid, Sept. 11

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Caution, both leading up to today and pertaining to it, is the operative word with the Orioles' Chris Tillman.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, a day after admitting there was “a lot of unknown” entering Chris Tillman’s return from the disabled list with shoulder bursitis, again Sunday morning urged caution about the afternoon’s game.

Showalter said that because Tillman didn’t feel the issue during his last start on Aug. 20, he’ll rely on the Tigers’ hitters for a read on how Tillman is faring.

“They’ll tell me how he’s doing,” Showalter said. “But there’s so many steps here. Things may go OK today. How does he feel tomorrow? How does he feel in his work day? We actually, I thought we took a very cautious approach to it for not only this year but years to come.

"Chris has got a chance to be a good pitcher. We did it with [Kevin] Gausman. We’ve done it with [Dylan] Bundy. We did it with [Yovani] Gallardo. All these guys, I’ve said many times, putting your arm over your head and jerking it down violently is not what the good lord intended us to do. So you’re going to have aches and pains, and you’re going to have problems.”

Tillman has been dealing with the shoulder issue for a month now, though it mostly crops up after he’s pitched in a game. As such, Showalter said the rotation schedule that includes six men is subject to change.

“Let’s get through today,” Showalter said.

Showalter praises Dodgers manager: The Orioles’ manager was supportive of his peer in Los Angeles, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who pulled left-hander Rich Hill after seven perfect innings Saturday in Miami. Hill, whom the Dodgers acquired in July, has battled blisters all summer. That was part of why Roberts kept him from that chance at history.

“Been there,” Showalter said. “You’d like to have the pitcher come in and say [something]. … You know, you don’t do it for the response you’re going to get. But he’s had these blister problems all year. I love the fact that the manager has the guts to do something, what’s best for the team and what’s best for me. If he pitches another 10, 12 pitches and can’t pitch again for three or four starts, how much has he missed?”

Showalter on Sept. 11: The Orioles are joining every team in Major League Baseball in wearing American flag patches on their caps to commemorate the 15th anniversary on the attacks on America from Sept. 11, 2001, and will join 300 first responders on the field for the national anthem Sunday.

Showalter gave his thoughts on the day before the afternoon’s game.

“People my age, you know where you were when you heard that President [John F.] Kennedy was shot,” Showalter said. “I remember that very vividly. Not on the same scale, but I remember when Bud Selig canceled the season in ’94. I know what I was doing. But this was on a whole different scale. That was just baseball.

"I think everybody knew at the time how it was going to change everybody’s life. We get a chance to get to honor a lot of those people today. We’re going to come out on the field with them. But what we’re allowed to do, you never take it for granted. I know that we have our faults in this country and what have you, things that we want to get better at, but you’ve got to remember that comparatively speaking, this is a special place to live, a special place that God allows you to be brought up in and be a part of. Sometimes we need to take a look at maybe the world sometimes and see how good we have it here and see how lucky we all are to be born into the situation we’ve been born into compared to some other people. It’s just a reminder how fleeting it can be.

"I try to stop for 10, 15 minutes every day and listen to the national or world news. I really do, and it kind of puts things in perspective around the world, what goes on in some places compared to here. I don’t ever want to take it for granted. That’s pretty deep, huh?”

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