Tillman to start Saturday, feeling 'optimistic'

Tillman to start Saturday, feeling 'optimistic'

BALTIMORE -- Though Orioles ace Chris Tillman was scratched from Wednesday's start with right shoulder discomfort, he expects to be good to go Saturday, when he's now penciled in.

Tillman, who is 15-4 with a 3.46 ERA, said he could've made his originally scheduled start if he needed to, but the O's are opting to play it safe with a month and a half left in the regular season.

"I'm not going to do anything stupid by any means," Tillman said. "You want to be smart about it. But I feel like Saturday is a good spot to try and shoot for."

Tillman's shoulder didn't cause him any pain during his last start Thursday, when he held Oakland to two runs over seven innings. Tillman said he woke up "really sore" the next day.

While Tillman "significantly improved" since, he hasn't encountered this type of shoulder pain before, so he wants to be cautious.

"I've had my aches and pains in August before, but nothing like this," Tillman said. "But it's getting better, and I'm actually pretty optimistic about it."

Because the Orioles were off Monday, manager Buck Showalter just had to shift everyone up a day rather than use a spot starter.

A month later in a tight division race, however, Showalter may have made a different decision.

"He could pitch today," Showalter said. "If it was September 25, he probably would. But it's not, and we didn't like some of the things that were being described."

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.