Orioles manager Dave Trembley announced prior to the series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday that his 21-year-old rookie starter will be shut down for the final week of the season. It means Tillman will miss his final start, which likely would've come Friday, and left-hander Chris Waters will take his place.
Jason Berken, originally scheduled to start Thursday's series finale, will be given an extra day, and Waters will go on Thursday -- following Mark Hendrickson, Jeremy Guthrie and David Hernandez.
Tillman finished the season 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 starts for the Orioles. On Sunday, he gave up six runs -- the most he's yielded all season -- in just two innings -- by far his shortest outing of the year.
But even though his first season in the big leagues ended on a sour note, Tillman is relatively pleased with how it turned out.
"Obviously I'd rather go into the offseason [coming] off a good start, but looking back at my season, I'm happy with it," Tillman said. "I'm happy with the progress I've made with my changeup, my curveball ... my fastball location. I probably wouldn't have even had this opportunity if certain circumstances didn't come up -- [with] guys getting hurt -- so I'm very thankful for that, and I'm very happy I got the opportunity to pitch here."
Tillman also went 8-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 18 starts for Triple-A Norfolk. With the Minors and Majors combined, he cranked it up to 161 2/3 innings during his fourth professional season, surpassing his previous high of 135 2/3 frames each of the previous two years.
In five September starts, Tillman went 1-3 with a 7.30 ERA. But he insists he wasn't laboring down the stretch.
"I felt great, actually, compared to last year," the young right-hander said. "Last year, I was a little sore, fatigued. This year, I actually felt like I got stronger and stronger as the year went on."
Now, Tillman's focus will turn to getting stronger in the offseason and improving in the first inning, a frame that saw him give up an opposing batting average of .340.
As for Trembley's advice?
"Be more aggressive right from the get-go -- right from the very first inning," Baltimore's skipper said.
"I think he needs to get stronger. I don't think he's fully going to develop until he's 24, 25, but for a kid who came to Spring Training as a 20-year-old and pitched in the big leagues at 21, I think he made a lot of progress."
Tillman's replacement, the 29-year-old Waters, went 9-7 with a 4.49 ERA in 29 games (20 starts) for Norfolk and gave up six runs in 6 2/3 innings (8.10 ERA) through four relief appearances for Baltimore this season.
In 11 starts for the Orioles in '08, Waters went 3-5 with a 5.01 ERA.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.