SARASOTA, Fla. -- Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen said he struggled with adjusting to a new mound and a new atmosphere in Saturday’s intrasquad game, in which he threw 31 pitches and lasted only two-thirds of an inning.
But Chen, 26, expected to be a member of the Orioles' starting rotation this year, was a different pitcher in his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday against Minnesota, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out the side in the second inning in the Orioles’ 6-0 win over the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium.
Chen, signed this offseason to a three-year, $11.388 million contract after spending the past four seasons in the Japanese Central League, depended mostly on his low-90s fastball, striking out Brian Dinkelman and Sean Burroughs swinging and getting Ben Revere looking.
“Because of my tempo and timing, this time I threw very well,” Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin. “I think the most important thing is that the Twins batters don’t know me yet. That’s why I was able to strike out three in a row.”
Chen said the intrasquad outing allowed him to get his first-game jitters out of the way.
“The last time, I didn’t feel comfortable on the mound, but today I adjusted a lot and I felt more comfortable throwing to [catcher] Matt [Wieters],” he said. “I’m still a human being, and I’m still nervous when I’m pitching the first time.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he thought Chen seemed "somewhat" more comfortable Wednesday.
"[There was] a little better command," Showalter said, "part of the progression process of him making some adjustments to everything. I thought he threw the ball well today. Great day to pitch. Wind blowing in. I thought the guys threw the ball pretty well, for the most part."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun