Mar 30, 2010, 12:42 PM EDT
Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the Orioles have settled on David Hernandez as their fifth starter, sending 22-year-old Chris Tillman to the minors this afternoon.
One of the best pitching prospects in baseball, Tillman made his big-league debut in July of last season and went 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA in a dozen starts for the Orioles. He entered camp as the presumptive favorite for the final rotation spot and pitched reasonably well in five spring outings, but the potential benefits of some additional seasoning in the minors and a 20/3 K/BB ratio from Hernandez sealed his fate.
Hernandez went 4-10 with a 5.42 ERA in 101.1 innings as a 24-year-old rookie last season, but a mid-90s fastball and 618 strikeouts in 534.2 innings as a minor leaguer give him significant upside if his control improves. He’ll join Opening Day starter Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, and Brad Bergeson in the Orioles’ rotation, with Tillman waiting in the wings.
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