Tillman and O’Day are progressing
RHP to return Sunday; setup man could be activated Wednesday
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — The Orioles have a better idea of when they will get right-hander Chris Tillman and setup man Darren O’Day back from the disabled list after both pitchers threw bullpen sessions before Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Getting both pitchers back — the team’s most reliable starter and its top eighth-inning reliever — would give the Orioles a major boost down the stretch.
Tillman is still scheduled to return from the DL to start Sunday’s series finale in Detroit after Wednesday’s session went well.
Manager Buck Showalter said Tillman, who has been on the DL for two weeks with right shoulder bursitis, will throw another light bullpen session Friday before returning against the Tigers.
O’Day, who threw a 26-pitch side session Wednesday, will also throw another bullpen session Friday, then is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Monday or Tuesday. That would be O’Day’s final hurdle before being able to return from his right rotator cuff strain. He could be activated as early as Wednesday.
“I felt good,” O’Day said. “No pain, so that’s good. … It’s the best it’s felt since I got hurt, so that’s encouraging.”
Showalter said the Orioles don’t believe Tillman needs a simulated game before returning because he last pitched Aug. 20.
O’Day missed nearly eight weeks with a slow-healing hamstring strain, then made eight appearances before returning to the DL with a shoulder injury Aug. 13.
“[O’Day] needs to face some hitters and get into some game situations, some ups and downs, where Chris isn’t that far removed from pitching in a game,” Showalter said. Chris Tillman Day off for Davis: First baseman Chris Davis, who left Tuesday night’s game in the fifth inning with a bruised left hand, was given Wednesday off. He’ll have two days’ rest with the team’s day off today.
Davis, who said after Tuesday’s game that he would be back in the lineup Wednesday, has dealt with discomfort in his left hand since April.
“I don’t think people sometimes completely respect the pounding guys’ hands take hitting,” Showalter said. “There are so many more swings taken by guys now than they used to take. … Just wear and tear.”
Showalter said Davis had precautionary X-rays taken on his hand, but there was nothing to indicate the injury worsened to the point that Davis will miss time. Showalter working the matchups: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will start Saturday in Detroit, remaining on regular rest, a sign that Showalter will align his rotation based on matchups and other factors down the stretch as Tillman returns from the DL. Showalter said he wants to keep Jimenez on four days’ rest.
Tillman is scheduled to start Sunday and left-hander Wade Miley is scheduled to start Monday night’s series opener in Boston. When Tillman returns, Showalter will have six starters to choose from.
“It’s going to be a day-to-day thing,” Showalter said. Around the horn: Despite Wednesday’s loss, the Orioles have won11 of 15 games against the Rays this season. They will host the Rays for a four-game series starting next week at Camden Yards. … Wednesday’s game marked the fourth time in club history the Orioles lost a nonextra-inning game in which their pitching staff struck out 15 or more. The previous time was Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Oakland Athletics on Sept. 23, 1999, a 9-6 loss. … Showalter said left-hander Jayson Aquino will report to Sarasota, Fla., after Sunday’s game to work out with a group of players remaining active in case a call-up is needed. … Pitching coach Dave Wallace will be away from the team for the next four days dealing with family concerns. Bullpen coach Dom Chiti will be in the dugout to serve as pitching coach, and player development director Brian Graham will be in the bullpen. Wallace will rejoin the team in Boston on Monday.
Starters: Chris Tillman (15-5, 3.76) vs. Tigers’ Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.28)
Starters: Wade Miley (8-12, 5.49) vs. Red Sox’s Steven Wright (13-6, 3.33)