2013 AL home run champ Chris Davis thought he could avoid the disabled list after suffering a strained oblique Friday, but following an MRI on Saturday, the Orioles made the decision to hold him out for 15 days.
“A little bit worse than what we thought it was going to be,” Davis said. “Strain, I guess is what we’re calling it. Obviously, the oblique. It’s kind of crazy because I don’t feel terrible. I’ve never had anything like this before. I figured it would just be a few days and then we’d forget about it.”
It’s a badly-timed injury for the Orioles, as they just DFA’d their backup first baseman, Steve Pearce, on Tuesday. As a result, they had Nick Markakis make his third career start at the position on Friday. Both of their first basemen in Triple-A, Brett Wallace and Chris Marrero, are off to lousy starts. Wallace, the former Astro, is hitting .167/.197/.208 with no homers in 72 at-bats, while Marrero, a longtime Nationals prospect, is at .210/.306/.371 in 62 at-bats.
As a result, the Orioles might just continue to go with Markakis at first, Nelson Cruz in right and a committee at DH for the next couple of weeks. Delmon Young would stand to be the biggest beneficiary there.
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.