Davis returns after X-ray on sore left hand
Tillman’s shoulder feels ‘pretty good’ for Sunday’s series finale
DETROIT — Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had an X-ray on his sore left hand, but the results were reassuring enough that he was inserted back into the lineup as the cleanup hitter for Friday night’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers.
Manager Buck Showalter said Davis’ return after leaving Tuesday night’s game early, then taking Wednesday off leading into the team’s travel day Thursday, didn’t mean the Orioles were in the clear on an injury that has bothered the slugger on and off all season.
“It won’t be gone until after the season’s over,” Showalter said. “We got some X-rays to kind of rule out some things. It’s just the constant pounding that everybody’s got. ... Chris is as good as he can be for this time of year.”
If the thumb has been bothering Davis of late, he hasn’t shown it at the plate. He homered before exiting Tuesday, his11th in 20 games. Over that span, he batted .290 with a 1.161 OPS. Showalter said it’s a credit to Davis that he has been productive despite the sore hand, but noted that he could probably say that of all his players when September arrives.
“He’s not the only one,” Showalter said. “I could [say] the same thing ... about six or seven other guys. Detroit could do it, too. I don’t think people realize the aches and pains these guys play through seven days a week. I wish sometimes the people who did the schedule would know, but you can’t make it public. A lot of these guys don’t want anybody to know.” Tillman eager to go: Right-hander Chris Tillman said Friday that he’s feeling “pretty good” and is ready to return from the disabled list Sunday for the series finale against the Tigers.
Tillman hasn’t pitched since Aug. 20 and has been on the disabled list since Aug. 21 with right shoulder bursitis. He has thrown two bullpen sessions to ensure that the problems that cropped up after his most recent start won’t be back.
“It didn’t really bother mewhenIwas pitching,” Tillman said. “It was [afterward]. So that’s what we wanted to get out of the bullpens, how I felt the day after and the next day. So far, it’s been pretty good.”
Initially, Tillman was bumped back a few days after shoulder discomfort cropped up while the Orioles were in California. He pitched well in a win over the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 11but felt something the next day and was held out as a precaution.
OnAug. 20 against the Houston Astros, he allowed six runs on six hits with five walks without retiring a batter in the third inning. He missed his spots badly at times, but blamed rust. He pitched one more bullpen session before he was shut down for two weeks.
“I’m sure there will be [rust], but that’s what we’ve been working on in the bullpens,” Tillman said. “That’s what we had two or three bullpens for. We had time to work on it, not just go out, feel good and pitch like I did last time. I’m trying to knock off that rust in the bullpen and get ready to go.”
Tillman is 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA, only recently passed on the team’s starter ERA chart by Friday’s starter, Kevin Gausman. Since Tillman’s most recent start, the Orioles have a 4.47 team ERA.
Showalter said the return of Tillman and the pending return of reliever Darren O’Day (rotator cuff strain), who threw a bullpen session Friday and reported no problems, could be an even bigger boost on the field than for morale. “This time of year, it’s about who can help you to pitch better,” Showalter said. Rickard stays in Sarasota: Rookie outfielder Joey Rickard (thumb) began hitting in Sarasota, Fla., and should be ready when he’s eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list Sept. 19, Showalter said.
“I was a little surprised he didn’t make it over to Tampa, and after talking to [rehabilitation coordinator] Dave Walker, he didn’t know if he could or should,” Showalter said. “That’s probably my fault. I should have invited him.” Around the horn: As part of Major League Baseball’s observance of Pediatric Cancer Month, several Orioles lined up with young cancer patients wearing superhero capes along the base lines for a pregame ceremony Friday. … Left fielder Hyun Soo Kim started and hit ninth, his first day in the lineup since Monday and just his third start in the past seven games. He went1-for-3 with a double.