In something of an unusual circumstance, Chris Tillman will be a part of the Baltimore Orioles' season-opening rotation, even though he will begin the season on the disabled list.
Tillman was slowed the past two weeks due to a left abdominal strain. Because the Orioles were able to backdate Tillman's move to the DL, the right-hander will be eligible to return to pitch the team's fifth game, April 6 against the Minnesota Twins. Tillman is expected to be ready to pitch that day.
With Tillman out, the Orioles will be able to keep an extra player on the roster the first four games. According to the Baltimore Sun, both left-hander T.J. McFarland and infielder Ryan Flaherty are likely to break camp with the team. McFarland was a Rule 5 draft pick from Cleveland in December, and he'd have to stay on the Orioles' roster all season or be offered back to the Indians.
Tillman, 24, went 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 starts for Baltimore last year. He had a 4.15 ERA in two Grapefruit League outings before he got hurt.
The Orioles made another roster move Thursday, reassigning outfielder Trayvon Robinson to their minor league camp despite his .326 average this spring.