With the start of the season less than a week away, the Orioles moved closer to shaping their pitching staff with a pair of moves over the last 24 hours.
Right-handed pitcher Chris Tillman has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk where he will presumably be a member of the Tides’ starting rotation. Showing improved velocity, the 23-year-old Tillman posted a 2.92 earned run average in 12 1/3 innings over five outings this spring.
The Orioles likely view Triple A as a better fit for Tillman as he tries to build on a successful spring and extends himself as a starter. Though he was still a dark-horse candidate for the fifth starter job, Tillman likely would have found himself as a long reliever only pitching a few innings a week.
The club also reportedly placed right-handed pitcher Alfredo Simon on outright waivers despite his ability to pitch as either a starter or a reliever. Battling a groin injury during sprain training, Simon was lit up for six runs in two innings of relief work on Wednesday.
Simon’s impending removal from the 40-man roster will clear a spot for one of two non-roster invitees likely to make the 25-man roster heading north. First baseman Nick Johnson is expected to be part of the Orioles’ bench while catcher Ronny Paulino will be Matt Wieters’ backup with Taylor Teagarden heading to the 15-day disabled list.