Right-hander Chris Tillman was a little tired from an early-morning cross-country flight from Triple-A Norfolk, but he was more than happy to be back in an Orioles uniform.
Tillman (8-8, 3.63 ERA at Norfolk) was expected to be activated after Tuesday's game and will start Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Mariners, making his first big-league start since Aug. 11.
“This is what I’ve worked all season for,” Tillman said. “I’ve gotten in a good routine and it’s working well. I’m real excited.”
Despite high pitch counts that have limited his ability to go deep into games, Tillman has won four of his last five decisions at Norfolk and is 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his last three starts for the Tides.
“It’s been going well,” Tillman said. “There have been a lot of pitches thrown. The strikeouts have a little bit to do with it. Guys are fouling off a lot of pitches. There are no excuses. I have to be more efficient. I think if I continue to do what I’ve been doing, I’ll be fine.”
Tillman, who had a strong spring training, said he’s learned a lot being around veterans like Jamie Moyer and J.C. Romero. More importantly, he’s worked on making his delivery more effective with Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair and pitching development director Rick Peterson.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a little while,” Tillman said. “Adair started it, the tempo thing, moving my hands a little bit, and Rick Peterson came in and worked with me a couple times. It’s been going well. I'm happy with where I’m at and I’m confident in it. I think that’s the most important thing, being confident in it.”
The Orioles will make a corresponding roster move when they recall Tillman, likely optioning right-hander Steve Johnson – who was recalled Monday – back to Norfolk.
Tillman is 7-14 with a 5.18 ERA during stints with the Orioles over the past three seasons.