Billy Hamilton gave Reds fans a big scare Saturday when he crashed into the outfield wall in the Arizona Fall League championship game and stayed down for several minutes before leaving the game.
Hamilton played center field in the AFL after being a shortstop in the minors and fortunately the fastest man in baseball appears to have avoided a serious injury. He’s been diagnosed with merely back spasms, telling Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com: “It’s sore, but I’m OK.”
Reds assistant director of player development Jeff Graupe told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Hamilton “has a little bruising, nothing serious” and “he’s fine.”
Before slamming into the outfield wall Hamilton went 2-for-5 with a triple and a bunt single. During the regular season he stole a minor league-record 155 bases in 132 games while hitting .311 with a .410 on-base percentage between high Single-A and Double-A.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.