Tillman looks forward to possible Opening Day start

Tillman looks forward to possible Opening Day start
February 4, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Chris Tillman begins spring training as the unquestioned No. 1 starter for the Orioles. Barring injury, he’ll be the starter for the Mar. 31 opener.

“I’d love to be. It’s kind of a big deal for anybody. I’ve watched in the past guys get the news that they’d be the Opening Day starter, and it’s been special for them,” Tillman said.

The Orioles will have their fifth different starter for the opener in as many years. Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta, Jeremy Guthrie and Kevon Millwood, all now gone, started the last four.

“It’s been cool to watch,” Tillman said.

Tillman was a first time All-Star last year, going 16-7, and continued the success he had in the second half of 2012. Now, he’s the veteran starter even though it’s possible the Orioles will acquire another Hammel or Millwood to round out the staff.

“Veterans are good to have around. Guys are going to ask questions, and they’re good to lead the way,” Tillman said.

[RELATED: What are the biggest spring training questions?]

Last year, Tillman had no options left, but as Buck Showalter often said, he didn’t pitch like it.

“One of the younger guys asked me, ‘how does it feel knowing coming into spring?’ I told him that every year I come into spring with the same mentality. You’ve got to compete for it. When there’s that competition, it’s more fun,” Tillman said.

NOTE: Speaking of Opening Day, in the past 11 years, the Orioles have used 11 different designated hitters. Last year’s was Steve Pearce. Wilson Betemit, Vladimir Guerrero, Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton, Aubrey Huff, Kevin Millar, Javy Lopez, Jay Gibbons, David Segui and Marty Cordova were the others.