O's send Josh Bell back to minors; call up Chris Tillman

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As expected, the Orioles have sent third baseman Josh Bell back to Triple-A Norfolk in order to make room for Saturday’s starter Chris Tillman.

As if facing the Rangers offense isn’t intimidating enough, Tillman will oppose the newly-acquired Cliff Lee, who is making debut with the club.

Tillman is 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA over four starts with the O’s this season. While he hasn’t found much success in the majors yet, the 22-year-old right-hander is 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 13 starts with the Tides this season. He’s coming off a complete-game one-hit shutout on Monday.

As for Bell, he didn’t play a whole lot since he was called up from the minors on July 1. He was 3-for-15 (.200) during his brief stay with the team. While he’s better off getting regular at-bats in the minor leagues, the 23-year-old told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he saw his first taste of the majors as a learning opportunity

“It is a good situation for me, regardless,” Bell said. “Because if I am
not playing, then I am watching and learning. And if I am playing,
well, that’s a great experience.”

Bell, who was acquired from the Dodgers in last July’s George Sherrill trade, was batting .266/.311/.455 with 10 homers and 44 RBI before getting the call from Triple-A Norfolk. He was ranked as the organization’s No. 2 prospect (and top position prospect) by Baseball America over the winter. Don’t be surprised if he is up for good later this season. 

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.