Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder today, as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters that the O’s are “encouraged” with Tillman’s recent progress and are planning to see how he reacts to the cortisone shot a few days from now before determining exactly when Tillman can return to the mound. Showalter again stated that Tillman isn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day, but Encina notes that the cortisone injection will hopefully allow Tillman to debut for the Orioles at some point in April. Certainly the Orioles will hope for a speedy recovery, as Tillman represents one of the top three arms in their rotation. But for Tillman, personally, there’s quite a bit at stake, as he’s slated to become a free agent at season’s end.
More from the game’s Eastern divisions…
- Veteran utilityman Emilio Bonifacio is making a “strong push” to break camp with the Braves at the end of Spring Training, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bonifacio had a pair of poor seasons in 2015-16 and acknowledged to O’Brien that his conditioning in recent seasons has fallen off. Bonifacio reported to camp in better shape than he has in the past couple of years and has performed well while showing the ability to play all second base, third base and all three outfield positions. The Braves don’t currently have a fourth outfield option that has much in the way of center-field experience, so the versatile Bonifacio could fill a need in that regard.
- While the Nationals aren’t publicly acknowledging the possibility, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post writes that the team can very likely only carry one of Adam Lind or Clint Robinson on the bench this season. And, with Lind having inked a Major League contract with an option for the 2018 campaign earlier this year, he’s the likelier candidate to claim that vacant bench spot. The 32-year-old Robinson is out of minor league options, so he’d have to clear waivers or break camp with the team if the Nationals hope to retain him.
- Right-hander Kyle Kendrick has improbably gone from a long shot to make the Red Sox’ roster to perhaps their best option to serve as the team’s sixth starter, writes Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. Drellich notes that Boston’s crowded rotation picture, featuring stars like Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello, made it difficult to lure starting depth on minor league deals. Kendrick, though, was drawn to a winning environment in Boston. Additionally, his agent, John Boggs, also represents Sean O’Sullivan, who spoke highly of his own experience with the Sox in a role similar to the one for which Kendrick is competing. Kendrick explains to Drellich that he was plagued by shoulder troubles in recent years and altered his pitch selection at the Rockies’ request upon moving to Coors Field. His hope is that with his more traditional mix of pitches and a healthy shoulder, he can return to the form that allowed him to log a 4.30 ERA in 862 innings with the Phillies from 2009-14.