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Orioles considering extra rest for left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada

By Eduardo A. Encina

The Baltimore Sun

6:41 PM EDT, June 1, 2013

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After watching pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada struggle through his first four starts at Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles are considering giving the Japanese left-hander extra days of rest in between starts.

Wada has failed to go more than five innings in any of his four injury rehab starts. In his most recent start Friday night against Buffalo, Wada allowed six runs — four earned — and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. In 17 2/3 innings overall, Wada has 12 strikeouts and 10 walks and opponents are hitting .288 against him.

“We’re going to take a look at his rest periods and see if there’s anything there to consider,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said.

Wada, who signed a two-year, $8.14-million contract in December 2011, has yet to pitch in a regular-season game for the Orioles after having Tommy John surgery in May 2012.

“He wasn't able to take it to the next level [Friday] night,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who has said Wada showed progress in his previous start. “Keep in mind what this guy's done. He's a year removed from surgery. There's some unknown about what rate he's going to get back to that caliber. It's a not a pure velocity thing either, so he'll get the ball again in four days, normal turn, and just keep staying the process.”

Wada, 32, who had a 107-61 record and a 3.13 ERA in while pitching nine seasons in the Japanese Pacific League before signing with the Orioles, is now 0-3 with a 6.11 ERA in four starts at Norfolk this season.

One of the major adjustments pitchers coming from Japan have to make is getting used to five-man rotations because six-man rotations are common in that country.

“Really, he just needs to pitch, he needs to get the kind of command and stuff he had before to succeed here,” Duquette said. “He’s got a couple more outings. He’s pitching. He’s not getting the kind of results. Pitching [both] is stuff and command, right, but his is more consistency.

In two weeks, the Orioles will need to figure out how Wada fits on their 25-man roster. Wada’s 30-day minor league rehab window ends June 15, and there is a clause in his contract that doesn’t allow the Orioles to option him to the minors without his approval.