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Saturday, August 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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MLB Notes: Orioles’ Chris Tillman says shoulder ‘pretty good,’ recovering well ahead of Sunday start

Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman says he is ready for Sunday’s start following a shoulder injury. (D. ROSS CAMERON / Associated Press)
Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman says he is ready for Sunday’s start following a shoulder injury. (D. ROSS CAMERON / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Orioles righty Chris Tillman said Friday that he’s feeling “pretty good,” and is ready to make his return from the disabled list Sunday for the series finale against the Detroit Tigers.

Tillman hasn’t pitched since Aug. 20 and has been on the disabled list since Aug. 21 with right shoulder bursitis. He has thrown two bullpen sessions to ensure that the problems that cropped up after that last start won’t be back again.

“That was the thing,” Tillman said. “It didn’t really bother me when I was pitching. It was kind of the post, so that’s what we kind of wanted to get out of the bullpens, how I felt the day after and the next day. So far, it’s been pretty good.”

Initially, Tillman was bumped back a few days after his shoulder discomfort cropped up while the Orioles were in California. He pitched well in a win over the Oakland Athletics on Aug.11, but woke up feeling something off the following day and was held out as a precaution.

His insistence that he didn’t feel anything in the Aug. 20 game against the Houston Astros belies the raw results he had on the mound in a game that saw him allow six runs on six hits with five walks without retiring a batter in the third inning. After that start, he said it was only rust that did him in.

He threw one more bullpen session before he was shut down for two weeks.

As such, Tillman knows there might be some more rust to deal with, though rust and no shoulder concerns will be far preferable to an achy shoulder.

“I’m sure there will be (rust), but that’s what we’ve been working on in the bullpens,” Tillman said. “That’s what we had two or three bullpens for. We had time to work on it, not just go out, feel good and pitch like I did last time. I’m trying to knock off that rust in the bullpen and get ready to go.”

Tillman is 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA, only recently passed on the team’s starter ERA chart by Friday’s starter, Kevin Gausman.

Since Tillman’s most recent start, the Orioles have a 4.47 team ERA.

Ex-Spokane Indian suspended

Minor leaguer Xavier Turner of the Texas Rangers was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball’s minor league drug program. He failed a second test for a drug of abuse.The 23-year-old Turner hit .325 with four homers and 18 RBIs in 34 games this year for Hickory and Class A Spokane.

Cam Williams of the Angels was also suspended (56 games) for the same violation.

Alderson defends Tebow signing

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is defending the team’s deal with Tim Tebow, saying the decision is about baseball and not any opportunity to sell merchandise. Tebow agreed Thursday to a minor league contract that includes a $100,000 signing bonus. He is attempting to launch a baseball career four years after the end of his time as an NFL quarterback.

Alderson said Friday it wouldn’t be practical to make such a big commitment to Tebow only as an attempt to market Tebow’s name.

“I have to tell you that the notion that we’re going to spend $100,000 on a bonus for a player so we can sell a couple hundred dollars’ worth of T-shirts in Kingsport, those economics don’t work,” Alderson said. “This was not about making money.”

Clearing the bases

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been lifted after three innings and 66 pitches in his return from a back injury. The lefty had not started since June 26. … The Braves say top prospect Ozzie Albies will undergo surgery next week for a fractured right elbow. … Mets second baseman Neil Walker had season- ending surgery to repair a herniated disk. … Home plate umpire Brian Knight left the game between the Marlins and the Dodgers in the fifth inning after getting struck in the mask and neck area by a deflected pitch. Knight was tended to by a trainer and walked off the field not long afterward through the Dodgers’ dugout. … The Diamondbacks activated righty Rubby De La Rosa (elbow) from the DL to start against the Giants.

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