The Baltimore Orioles aren’t only struggling with injuries very early, they’re coming in the form of big names – Chris Tillman, in this case. While the O’s would have never admitted it, the idea was that Tillman would make his fourth consecutive Opening Day start for the Orioles this year. Tillman apparently has had some struggles with the same shoulder that sent him to the DL last year.
Back in December Tillman apparently contacted head trainer Richie Bancells and said that his shoulder wasn’t responding as he thought it would to his off season throwing regiment. So at that time he was given a platelet-rich plasma injection in the shoulder (his right shoulder to be exact). However now it appears doubtful that Tillman would in theory be ready to go on Opening Day.
Major League Baseball created a ten-day Disabled List starting this year, and if Tillman went on that (backdated to March 30th), he’d be eligible to pitch on April 9th against NY. So we’re probably not talking about him missing any measurable time. He just wouldn’t be the Opening Day starter.
Mind you however, that scenario doesn’t really allow for much in the way of setbacks. If one little thing went wrong in terms of soreness, tendinitis, etc., Tillman might have to miss more time. The Orioles seem pretty confident in this path however, so it appears this is the direction in which they’re going.
My question would be how effective will he be once he returns? Might it not make more sense to send him to extended Spring Training for a couple of weeks? And that’s a tough call, because the pressure to win for the Orioles begins on April 3rd. Having your ace in extended Spring Training for the first three weeks of the season would be a tough pill to swallow.
But I suspect that remains an option for the Orioles if in fact Tillman does suffer a further setback. My point is whether or not that should be the plan regardless. Players go through spring regiments for a reason, that being to get ready for the season. The idea of Tillman being on a 75-pitch limit in his first regular season start was also floated yesterday; again, is someone really ready to go if they’re being limited in that manner?
It’s all a very tough call, and it’s being made by baseball and medical people. In essence, people a heck of a lot smarter than I. So it’s something to watch as camp moves along, but that appears to be the plan as of right now.