The Orioles have activated right-hander Chris Tillman from the disabled list in time to make his season debut Sunday against the White Sox. To open up a spot on its roster for Tillman, Baltimore has optioned reliever Stefan Crichton to Triple-A.
Tillman spent the first month-plus of the year on the shelf with a shoulder injury, an issue that began toward the end of last season, general manager Dan Duquette revealed last month.
“We probably could have done a better job getting him back….I’m not sure we rushed him,” said Duquette. “I’m just disappointed he didn’t start the season with us. We had plenty of time to work with him. The shoulder was bothering him at the end of last year.”
Even without Tillman, their most established starter, the Orioles have begun the season with an outstanding 19-10 record. The O’s success has come without much help from starters Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez, who have combined for a 7.00-plus ERA in 54 innings this season, leaving Dylan Bundy, Wade Miley and occasional fill-in Alec Asher to pick up the slack.
The 29-year-old Tillman should give the Orioles’ rotation another capable option, as he made at least 30 starts in each of the previous four seasons and finished three of those campaigns with a sub-4.00 ERA. In 172 innings last year, Tillman recorded a 3.77 ERA, 7.33 K/9, 3.45 BB/9 and a 41.2 percent ground-ball rate. He’ll try to better that production in 2017, his final season under Orioles control, and make a case for a lucrative contract.