O's Tillman pitches 2 perfect innings

Third baseman Miguel Tejada makes bare-handed play

March 06, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec and Peter Schmuck

SARASOTA, Fla. — - If there was 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, struck out three and threw 22 of his 33 pitches for strikes.

"I think it went well," Tillman said. "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," Tillman said. "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 might stretch out
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 today for his first competitive appearance as an Oriole.

He said he plans to throw three innings against the Detroit Tigers, but he would like to go longer if he keeps his pitch count low. Orioles manager Dave Trembley, however, said 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 longtime veteran status, pretty much has his own program, but like everyone else, he can't wait to 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 acknowledged that he was a little scared when he felt pain in his left quadriceps while heading to third base on his triple 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 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 fly balls before Friday night's game 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 came out negative, and Turner is day-to-day with a bruised foot.

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 Sunday and could make his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday. ... Outfielder Nolan Reimold (Achilles tendon) will make his spring debut today. ... Left-handed nonroster invitee Chris George (tweaked hamstring) threw a live batting practice session Friday and is close to playing in a game.

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