Orioles notes: Chris Tillman pushed back in rotation as it's 'time for him to take a step forward'

April 17, 2018 - The Orioles lose to the Tigers. 4-2. (Denise Sanders, Baltimore Sun video)

This week's schedule chaos for the Orioles has given them a chance to push right-hander Chris Tillman back in the rotation, with Alex Cobb staying on turn for Thursday's start and the struggling Tillman getting a second bullpen session in between starts.

Manager Buck Showalter said Tillman had a light session Tuesday and will have another before he starts again Saturday at home against the Cleveland Indians, with some availability as a reliever in games in case of emergency.


"We thought it could benefit him to take two workdays," Showalter said. "He was actually good today. ... Chris and I talked today. We talk some every day. He's just got to get back to being Chris. He understands the seriousness of it. It falls underneath 'Captain Obvious.' Chris knows when it's right and when it's not, and it's time for him to take a step forward."

This season, Tillman hasn't been impressive at all. In three starts, he's allowed 15 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings for an 11.91 ERA and a 2.824 WHIP after getting chased in the third inning Friday at Boston.

He's doing all of this on a one-year, $3 million base contract after he ended 2017 with a 7.84 ERA.

Cobb and Dylan Bundy also had bullpen sessions Tuesday, with Bundy scheduled to start Friday night against the Indians.

More weather talk

With temperatures anticipated to be below 30 degrees at first pitch Tuesday night, Showalter tried to deflect questions about the weather with his favored bromide about old men sitting around and talking about the weather and old women sitting around talking about old men.

But he ultimately relented, and said there's no easy solution to the widespread weather problems that are disrupting the sport this month.

"I feel more for the fans," Showalter said. "I've got it easy. I'm in the dugout around a heater. It really hits me when I go out to the mound. It's really tough. What's the answer? Everybody can sit around and talk about the problem, but what's the answer? ...

"Being on the competition committee, I understand so much better now. Here's what everybody always says, here's the reason we can't do it. Do you want the Detroit Tigers to go two weeks before they play a home game? Is that fair to their fans? Do you say every new ballpark has to have a roof on it? It's easy for us to say when we sit up in the press box or sit down here in a nice [dugout]. It's more about the players."

Around the horn

Left-hander Chris Lee, who suffered an oblique strain in early spring training, pitched three innings in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday, Showalter said. "He's making good progress," the manager said. "He's healthy." ... Showalter said the Orioles could go back down to three bench players once the series in Detroit is over.

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