The move seemed a foregone conclusion on Tuesday, when it was announced that fifth starter David Hernandez would move to the bullpen to help bolster the team's injury-laden relief corps. Thanks to Monday's off-day, the Orioles could afford to go with a four-man rotation and eight-man bullpen for the remainder of the week.
The 22-year-old Tillman had been dominant at Triple-A as of late, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.32 ERA in five starts this month. In that stretch he recorded 26 strikeouts against seven walks. On Monday he became the first Orioles Minor Leaguer this season to hit the five-win mark, tossing six innings of one-run baseball.
A final candidate for the fifth-starter spot this spring, Tillman was sent to Triple-A in favor of Hernandez and was instructed by the organization to work on fastball command and continue developing his cutter.
After not getting out of the fifth inning in his first three starts -- allowing nine earned runs over a stretch of 9 2/3 innings -- Tillman allowed more than three earned runs just once in his past seven starts. He tossed a complete-game no-hitter on April 28 at Gwinnett and is considered -- along with Jake Arrieta -- to be one of the team's top pitching prospects.
Tillman, who went 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 games for the O's last season, is already on the team's 40-man roster. To make room on the active 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned sidearmer Cla Meredith to Norfolk. The 26-year-old Meredith is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA.
"I'm kind of at the mercy of my employer," Meredith said. "I'm 26 years old, my arm's very healthy -- as is the rest of my body -- and I envision pitching for a long time, whether it's here or somewhere else. I learned a couple of years ago, you can only control the things you can control. This is one of those things I can't really control."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.