Notebook: Tillman has strong showing in debut

March 05, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec | Baltimore Sun reporter

SARASOTA, FLA. — If there were any lingering concern about Chris Tillman's back, he erased it Friday night by pitching two perfect innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his Grapefruit League 2010 debut.

Tillman, relying mostly on his fastball but mixing in a few off-speed pitches and one cutter, fanned three and threw 22 of his 33 pitches for strikes.

"I think it went well," said Tillman. "I just wanted to locate my fastball tonight and they made me do that a little bit. For the first one in four months, it felt good. I threw all my pitches. I was satisfied with my fastball location. That's what I was working on tonight."

He also got some help as new third baseman Miguel Tejada made a bare-handed play on Steve Pearce's grounder and got the out at first.

"It was a good day's work," said Tillman. "Obviously, I could have gone a little more. I felt strong even the last couple pitches of the inning."

Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez had a shaky debut in relief of Tillman, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. However, the left-hander wasn't helped by the Orioles defense which misplayed two pop-ups.

Millwood to debut Every pitcher who has taken the mound for the Orioles the first time through the exhibition starting rotation has been limited to two innings or 35 pitches, whichever comes first. That won't be the case when new ace Kevin Millwood takes the mound Saturday for his first competitive appearance as an Oriole.

He said that he plans on throwing three innings versus the Detroit Tigers, but he would like to go longer if he keeps his pitch count low. However, Orioles manager Dave Trembley said that the right-hander wouldn't throw more than three innings.

"I would hope to," Millwood said, "but I understand that the other guys have to throw. In that case, I can go out and finish in the bullpen."

Millwood, by virtue of his long-time veteran status, pretty much has his own program, but like everyone else, he can't wait to get out there and compete against players wearing a different uniform.

"Yeah, throwing to our hitters kind of [stinks]," he said. "You don't want to come inside too much, because you can hurt one of your teammates. If you hurt somebody on another team, it's just part of the game."

Pie feeling good

Orioles outfielder Felix Pie admitted that he was a little scared when he felt a little pain in his left quad muscle while heading to third base on his triple on Thursday. Pie missed the final nine games of the 2009 season with a strained left quad, and the injury lingered into the offseason. However, he woke up Friday yesterday morning and his concerns were eased.

"I felt much, much better," Pie said. "I'm going to be fine. I was a little scared, but I'm not worried because I feel nothing. I think the thing that happened was I just stretched my leg a little bit.

Pie took flyballs in pregame and remains on schedule to start today.

Turner is scratched

Second baseman Justin Turner was scheduled to start Friday night's game, but he was knocked out of it about two hours before it started courtesy of a line drive by teammate Garrett Atkins in batting practice. The liner struck Turner flush on his left foot.

X-rays on Turner's foot came out negative and he is day-to-day with a left foot contusion.

Around the horn Shortstop Cesar Izturis was scratched from Friday night's lineup because of flu-like symptoms. Brad Bergesen is scheduled to throw another live batting practice session on Sunday and could make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday. Outfielder Nolan Reimold (Achilles') will make his spring debut today. Left-handed nonroster invitee Chris George (tweaked hamstring) threw a live batting practice session Fridayyesterday and is close to getting in a game.

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