O's being cautious with Tillman's ankle injury

O's being cautious with Tillman's ankle injury

OAKLAND -- Chris Tillman will not start until at least Sunday, as the Orioles continue to be cautious in moving the right-hander along from a left ankle injury.

Tillman, who injured his ankle covering first base in his last start, threw a bullpen session on Wednesday in Oakland and was encouraged with how it went -- particularly with how his landing leg felt.

"That's the ankle that I rolled and today it was fine, didn't feel it at all," said Tillman, who will throw again on Friday. "I felt pretty good about it. It's a little bit of a mental hurdle and I think I got past that today. Physically, I felt good. The smartest thing is to get one more in and make a decision from there."

With Thursday's off-day, the O's rotation will remain on turn in Anaheim this weekend -- with Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez starting the first two games -- and the earliest they would need a fifth starter is Tuesday.

But Tillman is hoping to return sooner than that, as Sunday's starter is TBD and could also be Miguel Gonzalez.

"I'd like to get in as soon as possible," said Tillman, who could also be slotted in for Monday in Seattle. "These guys have been picking me up. I'd like to get in there and do my job, do my part."

Getting Tillman right is important for the Orioles as the righty has had a fantastic second half, pitching to a 0.38 ERA in three starts since the break.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.