Longtime Orioles starter Chris Tillman is making a comeback attempt, reports Britt Ghiroli of the Athletic. Tillman has been working with Dave Wallace, his former pitching coach in Baltimore, at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida since February, Wallace tells Ghiroli.
Tillman, who recently turned 33 years old, was a regular in the Orioles’ rotation for a good chunk of the last decade. He broke into the majors in 2009 and worked as up-and-down starting depth over the next couple seasons. By 2013, Tillman had locked down a permanent rotation spot, making at least 30 starts every year from 2013-16. He earned an All-Star berth in 2013 during a season in which he tossed 206 1/3 frames of 3.71 ERA ball.
After that highly productive four-year run, Tillman struggled mightily in 2017. Following an even worse start the following year, the Orioles cut bait. Tillman hooked on with the Rangers on a minor-league deal thereafter but didn’t make it back to the big leagues. He hasn’t pitched in a professional game since the end of that 2018 season, thanks in part to a June 2019 shoulder surgery. (Ghiroli notes that Tillman was attempting a comeback last spring before the COVID-19 shutdown).
Nearly three years removed from his most recent pro action, Tillman certainly faces long odds of returning to the majors. If he’s able to build back sufficient arm strength, though, it’s not out of the question he could find some interest from teams on a risk-free minor-league arrangement.