NEW YORK — Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen was back with his Orioles teammates on Friday, but this time was a little different. He’s not just back to work out; he knows the next time he throws in a game it will be in the big leagues.
“I’m definitely ready to pitch for my next start, same approach to every game,” said Chen through interpreter Tim Lin. “Like my last outing, I’m ready to pitch.”
Chen, who was 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA in eight starts before straining his right oblique on May 12 in Minnesota, will throw a bullpen session on Saturday in Yankee Stadium in preparation for his next big league start, which will come either Wednesday or Thursday against the Texas Rangers.
“I’m not quite sure right now because they told me there’d be an extra day to rest,” Chen said. “But I’m going to throw a bullpen [Saturday], so I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Said Orioles manager Buck Showalter on Chen: “If he's physically ready, we'll activate him on the fifth or sixth day. We've got some different options that present themselves now. We'll take it day to day. The big thing is I want him to get through his work day first and see how he feels.”
Chen made two rehab starts for Double-A Bowie against the Harrisburg Senators. He allowed four runs on five hits and two walks in five innings in a no decision on June 29 at Bowie. On Thursday in Harrisburg, Chen threw seven scoreless innings to pick up the win. He allowed four hits and walked no one.
“The biggest difference is command,” Chen said. “[Thursday], I attacked both sides of the plate, so that’s probably the difference.”
Showalter said he told Chen before Thursday’s start that he wanted to see the lefty get the win — to show his competitive fire is still burning.
“One thing when you're down that long, the one thing that doesn't get stoked is your competitive juices,” Showalter said. “The last thing I told him was, 'I want you to win the game. I want the Bowie team to beat Harrisburg and have a W next to Chen's name.' He started laughing and I said, 'No, I'm serious.' I said, 'That's what I'm going to be looking for.' So, I was glad from that standpoint.”