Tag:Chris Tillman
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 6:50 pm

O's rotation gets another shakeup

UPDATE (6:45 p.m. EST): Guthrie has been diagnosed with a form of pneumonia and scratched from his scheduled Wednesday start. Brad Bergesen will get the ball in his absence.

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeremy Guthrie The Orioles' rotation shuffle may not be done as Wednesday's starter, Jeremy Guthrie went to the hospital with a viral infection on Monday, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets .

The Orioles are hoping Guthrie, pictured, can still make his start Wednesday against the Tigers, but if not, Brad Bergesen would replace him.

"He started running a fever yesterday," manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko . "We thought we got it under control. Talking to him last night when we got here, he felt pretty good, but somewhere between that and today, his fever spiked back up. He's over there now trying to get a grip on what we're dealing with.

"I'm not sure if he'll be here or not. I expect him to probably come in and give us an update on where he is with it, but right now he's still tentatively scheduled to pitch on Wednesday. We'll see what the next couple of days bring. We'll probably make a decision on that tomorrow."

Bergesen had been expected to be the team's fifth starter, but started the season in the bullpen because the team wouldn't need a fifth starter until April 10.

The Orioles already had to mess with their rotation when Brian Matusz went on the disabled list on Friday due to back pain. To make up for Matusz's injury, the team moved Chris Tillman up a day to start on Saturday against Tampa Bay, while the team called up Zach Britton from Triple-A to start Sunday against the Rays.

Even with the shuffling, the Orioles starters have been good through three games. Guthrie went eight shutout innings on opening day, Tillman didn't allow a hit in six innings on Saturday and Britton gave up just three hits and a run in six innings yesterday. Jake Arrieta makes his first start of the season this afternoon against the Tigers.

Scouts told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that Britton may have been the Orioles' best pitcher this spring and even better than hyped Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos.

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 10:03 pm

Matusz shelved; Britton to make debut

By Evan Brunell

MatuszBrian Matusz has been experiencing back pain for the last four to five days and underwent an MRI Friday to try to diagnose the problem.

As MASN's Roch Kubatko reports, Matusz was found to have suffered a strained intercostal muscle that will knock him out anywhere from three to five weeks. As a result, Chris Tillman has been bumped up from Sunday to take Matusz's place Saturday. While many felt that Brad Bergesen could be the starter Sunday, the team is instead going with prospect phenom Zach Britton.

Britton was slated to start the season in Triple-A even though he has proven that it's time for him to be in the majors. While the promotion is somewhat odd as the Orioles were hoping to save on service time, Baltimore can still do that by demoting Britton a few weeks into the season once Matusz returns.

However, they've now opened the door to Britton staying in the majors the entire season. After all, if he gets off to a scorching start while Chris Tillman falls flat on his face, how can they justify demoting Britton?

Matusz, for his part, likely will take several days without throwing as he was struggling to throw even 10 feet, as MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli says. If the Orioles are wise, they will take every precaution possible in Matusz's rehab. A strained muscle can plague the entire year if not treated properly, and there's far too much invested in Matusz to run the risk of a lingering injury.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 3:50 pm

Bergesen struck in arm by line drive

By Matt Snyder

We have another pitcher struck with a line drive. Friday's victim was Orioles starting pitcher Brad Bergesen. Denard Span hit was has been called a "hot smash," "liner" and "screaming line drive" on Twitter by those in attendance. Fortunately the shot didn't hit Bergesen in the head, but it did nail his right (pitching) arm. One writer pointed out, however, that the blow was reminiscent of one in July of 2009 that ended Bergesen's season. On the bright side, the injury this time around is reportedly a deep bruise. He has gone for X-Rays, though. (Baltimore Sun via Twitter)

UPDATE: The X-Rays have come back negative. It's a bruise. Even better news is that Bergesen at least kept his sense of humor after the ordeal, as he said his outing was a no-hitter. (School of Roch )

Bergesen is battling for the fourth starter spot with Chris Tillman. He was 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 2009, but had a rough 2010 season, as the ERA rose all the way to 4.98. He allowed 193 hits in 170 innings. Bergesen was having a rough spring, too, sporting a 5.94 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting .373 against him.

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Posted on: October 11, 2010 11:12 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:51 am

R.I.P. Orioles: Three managers, almost 100 losses

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Next up: The only AL East team to finish under .500 in the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles were a team with a budding youth movement at the end of 2009 with enough solid young players that it was thought 2010 could be the first step towards an eventual return to the top of the AL East.

Instead, the team cycled through three managers and a host of disappointing seasons from crucial players en route to the same old, same old.


In the offseason, the O's made three moves geared toward addressing the team's perceived weaknesses amid a push for .500. Those were bringing in Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millwood.

Atkins couldn't hit his way out of a brown paper bag before being released, Tejada played poorly in his first season as a third baseman and increasingly appeared disinterested before being traded to the Padres and Kevin Millwood ran up a 4-16 record and 5.10 ERA in 31 starts.

In addition, center fielder Adam Jones regressed, left fielder Nolan Reimold was sent to Triple-A, second baseman Brian Roberts struggled with back problems, limited to just 59 games and Nick Markakis' 12 home runs were a massive disappointment. Mega-prospect Matt Wieters' pedestrian season proved that you can't always depend on minor-league numbers to tell the whole story. (Wieters still figures to develop into one of the league's best backstops.)

And if someone can tell me why the O's didn't trade Ty Wigginton when he was very much in demand and a free agent likely to depart, please call me. Because that was one of the dumber decisions at the trade deadline made by any team, with only the Nats' decision to hang onto Adam Dunn perhaps worse.


Brian Matusz Brian Matusz (pictured, right) shook off a slow start and ended the year with a 4.30 ERA, impressive for a rookie in the AL East. The lefty should eventually develop into Baltimore's ace. He was joined by Jeremy Guthrie, who shook off a poor 2009 to return to his usual season of around 200 innings (209 1/3) and an ERA just under 4.00 (3.83).

On offense, Felix Pie established himself as the left-fielder of the future after questions surrounding his commitment and talent. Pie was injured for a major part of the year, and nomad Corey Patterson -- himself an ex-Cub top prospect -- filled in admirably for Pie.

Luke Scott powered his way to a .902 OPS and career-best 27 blasts, hitting .284/.368/.535 in 447 plate appearances, as Scott has established himself as a solid power-hitter in the middle of the Orioles' lineup. On a contending team, he would likely bat fifth and at 32, his value is running out. His age is not a concern thanks to having two more years of arbitration that other teams would covet. However, Scott will only get older and only get closer to free agency, so the O's should capitalize on Scott's best full-time year and deal him.


The Orioles debuted Jake Arrieta and brought Chris Tillman up for another shot at the rotation, giving the O's three nice arms with Matusz that will eventually be the foundation of the team. Tillman is still struggling to adapt to the majors but has plenty of time to figure out while Arrieta has a 2011 rotation spot locked up.

Zach Britton skyrocketed up the prospect rankings all season and should debut in 2011, eventually pairing with Guthrie, Matusz, Arrieta and Tillman to give the Orioles its best pitching staff since its mid-90s halcyon days and its best shot to take down the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Jays. Offensively, the club drafted shortstop Manny Machado in June, who will appear on many Top-100 prospect lists this winter.

Josh Bell didn't find the bigs to his liking in his major-league debut, compiling a .214/.224/.302 line but represents the O's best hope for developing a power hitter and will get every chance. Brandon Snyder will also get every chance to become Baltimore's long-term first baseman, but a poor 2010 calls into question how ready he is currently.


Buck Showalter The Orioles ran through Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel heading up the clubhouse before settling on Buck Showalter (pictured, right). The longtime skipper posted a 34-23 record in town, giving many hope. While Showalter will combine with many budding, talented youngsters to give forth a strong effort, the team is simply not ready for prime time.

Shooting for .500 is a realistic goal, but the team may have to temper expectations given the mighty behemoth that is the AL East. Finishing with 88 losses could be as good as finishing .500 in any other division.


The Orioles need to be focused on one thing and one thing only: surrounding the team with enough talent to compete. With enough money to make a play for a big free agent, the O's could strike big, but need to make these smaller strikes count as well.

The Orioles could make a play for Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford and sell them on having enough talent coming up to make a push. The dollars and sense won't likely work out, however, so the O's will have to go second-tier shopping. Taking a flyer on Jeremy Bonderman, still under age 30 and with plenty of talent, could work out in spades for the O's.  Jorge De La Rosa would be a safer get, but also come at a higher price.

On offense, the team could target someone like Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee, amongst a host of others, to come in to act as a veteran presence and occupy first base long enough for Snyder to develop. The Orioles could also strike to acquire Prince Fielder, giving the team a cornerstone power bat to build around for the foreseeable future. Baltimore would also be able to flash enough money to potentially keep the slugger in town beyond 2011.


The Orioles will take baby steps toward contention. The offense is major-league ready enough, but the pitching is lagging behind and needs at least a year -- if not two -- to settle down. Baltimore's task is to get its young hitters focused in the meantime while cashing in on chips like Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie. The Orioles will likely sniff 90 losses but could be primed for a breakout in 2012.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 4:42 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 4:47 pm

O's will give Tillman another start

Chris Tillman
The next step in the back-and-forth career of Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman will apparently be a start in Baltimore this weekend. The Baltimore Sun reports that the right-hander is expected to move up from Triple-A Norfolk and start Sunday.

Tillman hasn't had success at the major-league level in his second season, going 1-4 with a 7.92 ERA in six starts. He got off to a big start in Norfolk this year, including a no-hitter, and joined the big-league rotation at the end of May. He played himself out of that role in four starts as he went 0-3 and failed to make it past two innings in two of them. He was recalled to replace injured Kevin Millwood in July, but in his second start back he was hammered for eight runs in 2 2/3 innings and he went back down.

Tillman, a second-round draft pick who came to Baltimore from Seattle in the Erik Bedard deal, is still just 22 and it's not time to give up on him. The Orioles have nothing to lose by letting him work things out at the big-league level at the end of this lost season, and it will give new manager Buck Showalter a chance to evaluate him before next spring.

If Tillman pitches Sunday, that would buy an extra day of rest for Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergesen. The Sun said this doesn't necessarily mean the Orioles are going to a six-man rotation, but at this point it's not clear what their plans are.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 13, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: August 13, 2010 12:35 pm

Orioles may move to six-man rotation

Kevin Millwood The Orioles may move to a six-man rotation in September, reports the Baltimore Sun .

Baltimore, suddenly surging under new manager Buck Showalter, has several young pitchers in the minors that need to be evaluated for 2011. Those include Zach Britton, Chris Tillman and recent Marlins import Rick VandenHurk. One possible answer is a six-man rotation.

"It’s something that we have kicked around a little bit depending on what the needs of the guys are,” Showalter said. “I don’t think we’re at that point. We’ll try to let them finish off the year and when we get to September, we’ll see what’s best for everybody.”

However, as Jeff Zrebiec says, veteran pitchers Kevin Millwood (pictured) and Jeremy Guthrie want to pitch on schedule. Moving to a six-man rotation would upset them. Further complicating things is the fact that the O's have an off-day every week for the next five weeks, reducing the need for a six-man rotation and even a five-man.

There remains room to incorporate Tillman, Britton and VandenHurk, though. For one, the team could shut down Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta, two young pitchers who are creeping up on pitching more innings than they should. Britton is in a similar position, so he may not even be a consideration. That leaves Tillman, who definitely needs some additional starts in the majors to prepare for a potential ascension in 2011. VandenHurk, as noted previously, is a newcomer to the organization. Evaluation at a major-league level would give the Orioles a far better understanding what he can do for the squad in 2011.

The Orioles are going nowhere, so their main focus shouldn't be on Millwood or Guthrie. For one, Millwood is an impending free agent while Guthrie doesn't have the cachet to demand taking the ball every fifth day. Baltimore needs to build for the future -- and the future includes a bevy of young starters who deserve looks in the majors.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 15, 2010 9:49 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2010 10:19 pm

Orioles send youngster Tillman to bullpen

Chris Tillman The Orioles will send top prospect Chris Tillman to the bullpen, interim manager Juan Samuel announced on Tuesday.

The move is temporary, as the Orioles have three off days in a 12-day span, so the club will not need a fifth starter until June 26. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said the struggling Tillman, along with Brad Bergesen, is a candidate to start on the 26th, according to the Baltimore Sun 's Jeff Zrebiec.

Tillman made his major-league debut in 2009, tossing 12 starts of a 5.40 ERA. He opened the 2010 season in the minors, where he posted a 3.12 ERA and 42/12 K/BB over 10 starts of 57 2/3 innings.

He hasn't been able to replicate his minor-league success in the majors, though, as he holds a 8.40 ERA through four starts. He's walked eight and struck out just seven, with the San Francisco Giants battering Tillman around in his last start on Monday. He hasn't had an easy road so far, also facing high-octane offenses in the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Yankees.

The 22-year-old has experienced decreased velocity as well, averaging 90.9 mph on his fastball as opposed to 2009's 92 mph mark, according to FanGraphs.com.

Tillman might not even last until June 26th on the roster.

"It sounds like if Tillman isn't getting regular work by the time the team returns home [Tuesday, June 22], the club could send him down to Triple-A Norfolk so he can resume pitching regularly as a starter," writes Zrebiec.

Tillman's main competition for the start June 26, Brad Bergesen, was recently demoted to Triple-A after posting a 6.50 ERA over 10 starts and two relief appearances. The 24-year-old has made one start in the minors since the demotion and went seven innings, giving up two runs.

Zrebiec also adds that All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts' new timetable for returning is four-to-six weeks. Roberts has missed the entirety of the season with a herniated disc in his back and the timetable keeps being pushed back. The latest setback came on Monday when Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, said Roberts would be shut down for two weeks before resuming activity.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 15, 2010 10:58 am

O's could drop Tillman from rotation

Chris Tillman The Orioles have to figure out what to do with right-hander Chris Tillman after another disastrous outing Monday night. He gave up six runs in two innings to run his ERA to 8.40 with an 0-3 record.

Tillman was a key piece of the trade in which he and four other players, including outfielder Adam Jones, came from Seattle in exchange for Erik Bedard. With a high-command fastball and good curve, the 6-5 California native was projected by some as a front-of-the-rotation starter.

But Tillman's fastball hasn't had the pop it used to -- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun said he never saw Tillman top 90 mph Monday night -- and he's lasted two innings or less in two of his four starts.

Samuel and Orioles president Andy MacPhail huddled after the game, usually an indicator that they're talking roster moves. The bullpen is overworked, so it seems likely Tillman, the fifth starter, is on his way out in favor of a reliever.

Another piece of the Bedard trade, left-hander Tony Butler, was released by the organization on Monday without ever appearing in the majors.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com