This week, Chris Tillman earned a ceremonial, but very notable appointment.
He is tabbed to start on Opening Day as the Orioles face the Boston Red Sox – who as we all know won the 2013 World Series – at Camden Yards on March 31st.
From the Baltimore Sun: Any time you get the chance to get that kind of opportunity it’s a big deal,” Tillman said of being named the club’s Opening Day starter. “Number one, it’s an honor, it’s exciting. At the same time, it’s important for the team to get us started in the right direction, the season going the right way. I think we are all just excited to get this thing going. “
Orioles manager Buck Showalter made the official announcement Monday afternoon: The 25-year-old from Southern California will become the club’s fifth Opening Day starter in five years, joining Jason Hammel (2013), Jake Arrieta (2012), Jeremy Guthrie (2011) and Kevin Millwood (2010). Tillman is the club’s youngest Opening Day starter since Mike Mussina in 1994.
Tillman said the honor wasn’t something on which he had been focusing.
“Not really. Not at all, to tell you the truth,” Tillman said. “Like I’ve said since Day 1, we’ve got five guys in here capable of doing it.”
When Showalter told his pitcher the news Monday, the manager said he received a one-word response: “Thanks.”
I’m still amazed how well Chris Tillman has done for a better part of two seasons, especially in 2013.
Tillman is on his way to becoming an ace, not only a frontline starter. I distinctly remember his struggles for a while after infamous trade with the Seattle Mariners; however, he went through his lumps and figured out on the big league level.
It has been very cool to see Tillman develop in the organization for the better part of six seasons.
Let’s hope he can elevate his game more this season.