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Orioles spring training: Chris Tillman’s rehab schedule is already being pushed back

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Chris Tillman was supposed to resume long toss on Wednesday. Now he won’t be doing that toss until next Sunday.

Baltimore Orioles v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Chris Tillman’s new and improved rehab schedule did not even survive 24 hours before being adjusted in the wrong direction.

Yesterday, the Orioles effectively conceded that Tillman would be out for the entire month of April, at least. The plan that they had fleshed out for his rehab would take him through that whole month, between extended spring training and minor league rehab outings.

That plan was supposed to start with Tillman resuming long toss, with a couple of long toss sessions on Wednesday and Friday being precursors to getting back to bullpen sessions and then more game-oriented pitching.

It’s already kaput. Manager Buck Showalter said before Sunday’s spring training game against the Tigers that, although there hasn’t been a setback for Tillman, he’ll be waiting until next Sunday to start with the long toss sessions.

It seems that the doctors want to give ten days after the cortisone injection for everything to settle down. Sounds normal enough. Why didn’t the Orioles just say that yesterday?

With Tillman already missing about a month of the season, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference if he only misses four more days beyond that. That’s just one more start from the sixth starter who fills in, if that. Better to have a healthy Tillman for five months than to rush him.

Still, the dates keep getting pushed back for Tillman. A few days here, a few days there, it all adds up, and there remain Showalter’s cryptic “I’m confident he’ll pitch for us at some point” comments. Missing Tillman for months is a different problem for the starting rotation.

The Orioles haven’t rushed out to sign a free agent to fill in for Tillman, so they’re either confident he won’t miss a ton of time, or confident in his possible replacements. If they’re right about either or both, things should be OK. But if Sunday’s long toss keeps getting pushed back, or if there’s a setback before he gets back into the bullpen, it might be panic time again.