BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton can add another line to his rapidly expanding resume. The Double-A Bowie starter will represent the Orioles in the 12th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, which features many of the top Minor League prospects in baseball. A record 30 Major League All-Stars in 2009 were Futures Game alumni.
Britton, who won Carolina League Pitcher of the Year after a stellar 2009 season for Class A Frederick, is fourth in the Eastern League this season with a 2.62 ERA in 13 starts. He is 6-3 with 59 strikeouts and 27 walks in 79 innings of work.
"It's a huge honor to be selected for the Futures Game," Britton said. "So many successful big leaguers once played in the game, so I'm just happy and honored that I was given the opportunity to represent the Orioles."
The 12th annual Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on XM 175. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game.
Tillman optioned to Triple-A Norfolk
BALTIMORE -- Chris Tillman was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Tuesday's game, a move which cleared a spot on the 25-man roster for newly acquired Jake Fox.
"He needs to go and pitch more frequently than what we were able to offer him," president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said of Tillman, who hasn't appeared in a game since he was taken out of the Orioles' rotation following a start on June 14.
Tillman dropped to 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA with that abbreviated outing against the Giants, which marked the second time in four starts that he failed to make it to the third inning. The 22-year-old's lack of velocity -- he didn't break 90 mph -- was particularly frustrating and the Orioles moved him temporarily to the bullpen. The move to the 'pen was more out of necessity, with both interim manager Juan Samuel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz reiterating that Tillman's future with the organization is as a starter.
"To continue the development of those guys, they need to go down there [to Norfolk] and pitch," Samuel said.
At the time of his recall on May 29, Tillman was 5-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 starts for the Tides. On April 28, he pitched a nine-inning no-hitter against Gwinnett.
"Talking to some of the people that had [Tillman in the Minor Leagues], they said that he kind of eases his way into it and then later in the game, he starts adding velocity," Samuel said last week. "We need to have it the other way around. I think he needs to pitch with more conviction. He needs to get in there and move those hitters, make them move their feet."
Samuel wasn't sure of Tillman's schedule in Norfolk, and given that it's been more than a week since he's started, Samuel said the Minor League staff will work on mapping out an exact plan.
Closer Mike Gonzalez pitched one inning in a Gulf Coast League game on Monday. He threw 19 pitches to four batters, allowing one hit and striking out two. His velocity was up to 90-91 mph, the highest it's been since he was placed on the disabled list, and he could return to the Orioles before the end of their current homestead. Gonzalez is scheduled to throw another GCL inning on Friday before going out to an O's affiliate next week. ... Relief pitcher Jim Johnson threw 25 pitches off the mound on Monday, his first time working off the bump since beginning his rehab. He will throw 30 pitches off the mound on Wednesday. ... Relief pitcher Koji Uehara threw 30 pitches off flat ground in Sarasota, Fla., on Monday with no problems. ... Outfielder Felix Pie went 0-for-4 as the designated hitter in his rehab debut in the Gulf Coast League on Monday and was 1-for-4 with a run scored Tuesday.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Noah Rosenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.