SARASOTA, Fla.—Chris Tillman threw his first spring innings of the season on Thursday morning. After missing his first start with a strained right hip flexor, Tillman pitched two scoreless innings on a back field of the Ed Smith Stadium complex in a “B” game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He retired the six batters he was supposed to face, and then to reach 30 pitches, Tillman allowed a single to the seventh batter.
“I felt really good about it. I felt adrenaline and everything. I took it as a normal start as I do every start,” Tillman said.
Tillman will throw a bullpen on Sunday, and manager Buck Showalter was evasive on when he and Gausman will pitch again. It’s his preference to keep them away from AL East opponents, and the Orioles’ schedule is packed with those games.
He’s on track to star the schedule on time.
“In the back of my head I’m thinking I have to catch up, but I don’t think there’s much catching up to do. I think I’ll still get four more, five more maybe,” Tillman said. “I don’t feel I have much more catching up to do because I threw the whole time, pretty good about it.”
Kevin Gausman pitched three scoreless innings to follow his two shutout innings in his only official Grapefruit League appearance on Mar. 5.
“I pitched in the same exact thing last year, a B game against the Pirates. I guess I’m used to pitching at 10 am. It’s a little bit different just cuz it is early, but I felt good. Threw some real good breaking balls for strikes and when I wanted them to chase. Left two pitches up and those were the two i gave up doubles in. overall i feel good and got my work in out of the stretch,” Gausman said.
It didn’t bother him that there were only a few fans and about 20 scouts watching.
“A little bit. But I think everybody here has that competitiveness to them, once you get on a baseball field you want to win, you want to compete. You never want to pitch bad. So I don't think that has that much to do with it,” Gausman said.
NOTES: Brian Matusz, who’s been hampered with a back injury, should be ready to throw again on Sunday or Monday. … Ozzie Martinez, who’s out after being hurt in a collision, should be ready for a return on Friday. … Darren O’Day threw a side session on the back field after the ‘B’ game. Showalter said he was working on new techniques.