9/23/2013 6:44 P.M. ET
Ankle fine, Tillman set to face Blue Jays
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman came through Sunday's bullpen session with no issues and he remains on track to start Tuesday's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Tillman tweaked his ankle covering third base in Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Red Sox, but it hasn't been a problem in his between-starts regimen, and the staff ace should eclipse the 200-inning mark Tuesday for the first time in his career.
"I think the statistics snuck up on some people, but how well he's pitching didn't and how well he's capable of it in our circles," said manager Buck Showalter. "It's been quality. Some guys get 200 innings just by showing up. There are certain statistics you can accumulate in the Major Leagues just by playing every day and pitching every fifth day.
"Tilly's just been, you can see it in his face. He's pretty confident. I think he feels good that people feel good about him, if that makes any sense. If he gets in a little bind early in the game, he's not feeling that, 'What's going to happen now?' He's got a track record."
Tillman, a late addition to the American League All-Star squad, has pitched a staff-leading 194 1/3 innings and had thrown 266 2/3 frames combined in parts of four seasons prior to 2013. If the Orioles, who entered Monday 4 1/2 games back in the AL Wild Card race, are out of contention by Sunday, Tillman won't make his final start, so Tuesday could be the final outing of a career year. The 25-year-old is 16-7 with a 3.70 ERA and has performed particularly well on the road.
"Sooner or later, guys do have to be their own coaches out there and know what works and what doesn't work," Showalter said. "And he's gotten stronger, he's gotten bigger. ... I think he weighs more than he ever has in his life."
Casilla hospitalized after blow to head
ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles infielder Alexi Casilla will remain in a Tampa Bay area hospital on Monday night as the team travels north after suffering a collision in the bottom of the seventh inning of Baltimore's 5-4 loss to the Rays.
"Alexi got a pretty good blow to the head," manager Buck Showalter said of Casilla, who stayed in the game to finish the inning before departing and will undergo a CT scan and be monitored overnight. "I kind of found out after the fact. Looking back at it, I decided to get him out of there. I probably should have gotten him out of there from the get-go."
Casilla, who entered the game for injured third baseman Manny Machado in the top of the seventh, slammed his head into Nick Markakis while trying to make a diving catch on Wil Myers' bases-loaded blooper in shallow right field. The impact of the blow popped the ball out of his glove and allowed Tampa Bay to snap an 0-for-18 bases-loaded streak with a two-run single that tied the game at 4.
"It was just bang-bang," said Markakis, who was fortunate to absorb the blow with his thigh and not sustain a serious injury. "Me coming full speed. Him coming full speed. It was like trying to stop a train on a dime. It's tough. I'm just glad he is OK. He got banged up a little bit, but when it's all said and done, if he's OK, that's all that really matters."
Casilla was the second Oriole to exit the game against the Rays with an injury, joining Machado in an ugly game that culminated in the team's fifth consecutive loss. A rarely used bench player, Casilla entered as a pinch-runner for Machado and shifted to second base for the bottom of the inning. After Myers' play, he initially stayed on the ground for several minutes, but got up and stayed in as the O's recorded the final out of the inning.
"He got a little foggy-headed between innings and we got him out of there," Showalter said of Casilla, who he praised for being an exceptional teammate. "The heck with what kind of players [Machado and Casilla] are. They're two good young men who represent the Orioles very well, and our fans I know are very proud of the way they left it out on the field."
"It's tough," catcher Matt Wieters said. "We fought all year with the guys in this clubhouse, and to see two guys come out with injuries is never a good feeling as a teammate, especially guys who have played as hard as they have all year."
• Showalter said Bud Norris will remain as Wednesday's starter, as the right-hander's elbow has been improving over the past few days.
• The Orioles will host Fan Appreciation Week on their final homestand.
• Entering Monday, the Orioles were the only team in the Majors to have at least seven players play in 140 games or more this season.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.