O’s notes: Tillman hopeful for Saturday; Kim starts vs lefty; Rickard won’t be ready Sept. 1
Chris Tillman’s right shoulder soreness isn’t a major problem, the right-hander said Wednesday, and so he hopes to pitch Saturday against the Houston Astros. He first felt the discomfort on Friday — after he pitched in Oakland on Thursday. He was fine during that game.
“It’s better. It’s definitely been getting better every day. I just woke up really sore after my last start. Didn’t feel a thing during the last one, which I think is a good thing,” Tillman said. “Just trying to stay on top of it and not be stupid about it. I feel like I could pitch (Wednesday). I don’t think that’s the smartest thing for the team or myself.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter basically said the same thing about his top pitcher, whose start Wednesday versus Boston was pushed back. The Orioles had that luxury without shuffling their rotation because of an off day Monday.
“He could pitch today. He could,” Showalter said. “If it was Sept. 25, he probably would, but it’s not. And I didn’t like some of the things that were being described.”
Although Tillman and Showalter didn’t talk specifics, Tillman said he hasn’t dealt with a shoulder situation like this in past Augusts. He’s not guaranteeing he will start Saturday. But he is hopeful.
“I mean, you’re always confident. You never know, though. I’m not going to do anything stupid by any means,” he said. “You want to be smart about it. But I feel like Saturday is a good spot to try and shoot for.”
Kim starts against a lefty
It took until Game No. 119, but left-handed hitter Hyun Soo Kim is getting another start against a left-handed pitcher. And it’s one of the best in baseball, too, Boston’s David Price.
“I am very aware that David Price is, of course, a great pitcher, but all the pitchers that I have faced so far are also great pitchers,” he said through interpreter Danny Lee. “So it doesn’t really matter who that pitcher is. I’ll just try to remain as myself, to be up on the plate and face them just as usual.”
Kim is batting .321 with a .401 on-base percentage in 209 at-bats this season, but he is hitless in 14 at-bats versus left-handers. He did start July 1 against Seattle lefty Wade LeBlanc, going 0-for-2.
In his last three years in Korea, Kim hit above .300 against lefties each season. In 2015 for the Doosan Bears, Kim batted .333 with a .421 on-base percentage and seven homers in 162 at-bats versus southpaws.
It’ll be different, but he’s not concerned.
“In Korean baseball, the lefties in Korea don’t really throw changeups or forkballs … when they are facing the lefties,” Kim said. “But here, they throw those, That’s the main difference that I’ve found. So I will now treat them just like the righties when I’m up at bat.”
Rickard won’t be ready Sept. 1
Showalter said outfielder Joey Rickard (thumb) was examined by a hand specialist and will remain in a brace for two or three weeks. He then should be able to return to baseball activities, which could take a week or more before a full return.
When Rickard partially tore thumb ligaments in late July, the hope was he would be ready for September call-ups. Showalter said he still expects Rickard to re-join the Orioles in September, just not at the very beginning of the month.
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