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MRI on Chris Tillman's right elbow shows inflamed nerve but no structural damage

TORONTO -- A MRI performeced on Chris Tillman's right elbow on Tuesday in Baltimore showed no structural damage, but it revealed a inflamed ulnar nerve in the joint.

Still, the 24-year-old right-hander hasn't yet been scratched from his next start. The Orioles are optimistic Tillman won't miss time.

"I thought it was real good news," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "The exam, [team orthtopedist] Dr. Wilckens and the MRI showed the same thing, just some inflammation at the most. All the structure is good, the ligament everything. The ulnar nerve is a little imflamed, which is normal this time of year."

In the meantime, Tillman will do his in-between starts core work at Double-A Bowie, which is playing in the Eastern League playoffs. Tillman has also been dealing with some shin split issues, so he might be limited to riding an exercise bike.

Showalter said it's too soon to tell whether Tillman will miss his next start, which would be Saturday against the Yankees at Camden Yards. 

"He's still four or five days away," Showalter said. "We'll see if it completely resolves. We're hoping we don't have to give him an anti-inflammatory shot and we're thinking we can stay away from that, I hope."

Tillman (7-2, 3.39 ERA in 11 starts) left Tuesday's game against the Yankees after just three innings after feeling like he had a dead arm. Between the majors and Triple-A Norfolk, Tillman has pitched 153 1/3 innings, 22 innings less than his previous highest season total. He threw 185 innings in 2010 with the Orioles and Norfolk.

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