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Shoulder discomfort ends Tillman's 'pen session

Orioles uncertain about the next step with last year's Opening Day starter
Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Chris Tillman was supposed to throw a bullpen session on Sunday morning at Ed Smith Stadium, but he had to cut it short after just 10 warm-up throws because of discomfort in his right shoulder. The session had originally been scheduled for Saturday, and it was pushed back to Sunday.

Manager Buck Showalter stayed in Sarasota to watch Tillman's session before joining the team in Fort Myers to play the Twins.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Chris Tillman was supposed to throw a bullpen session on Sunday morning at Ed Smith Stadium, but he had to cut it short after just 10 warm-up throws because of discomfort in his right shoulder. The session had originally been scheduled for Saturday, and it was pushed back to Sunday.

Manager Buck Showalter stayed in Sarasota to watch Tillman's session before joining the team in Fort Myers to play the Twins.

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"[Tillman] started to play catch, long toss and stuff, to get ready to go to the mound, and after about 10 throws, we shut it down," Showalter said. "[He's] still got some discomfort in there."

Tillman had a bullpen session on Thursday that did not go well. The Orioles had hoped an antibiotic he was taking was the reason. He received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right shoulder in December, and he has yet to pitch this spring because of shoulder soreness.

"It's discouraging for Chris, I know," Showalter said. "His being one of our five starters at the start of the season is in jeopardy."

The Orioles are trying to decide what the next step will be.

"We'll get our arms around what the next step is by the time we get back tonight," Showalter said. "We'll see what direction Chris goes. I know it's a big year for Chris on a lot of fronts."

Tillman had been Baltimore's Opening Day starter for the past three seasons. The Orioles had already acknowledged he wouldn't do so this season, but they had hoped he would be ready by the time they need a fifth starter on April 15.

The Orioles have several in-house options to take Tillman's spot in the rotation, including right-handers Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson and Gabriel Ynoa and lefties Jayson Aquino and Chris Lee.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Orioles on Sunday.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Tillman