ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and designated hitter Wilson Betemit, both rehabbing injuries at the team’s spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., visited the club at Tropicana Field on Saturday.
Chen (left oblique strain) continued to increase the distance in his throwing progression, and threw from 120 feet for the first time on Saturday.
After being unable to pick up a baseball for three weeks, Chen began his throwing progression on Monday.
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“It was really difficult for me, especially because I play catch every day and the three-week period was really long for me,” Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin. “I was counting every second every day until I could get back and throwing. I’m extremely happy. That was a big step for me especially after not throwing for three weeks. When they told me I could pick up a ball, it felt so happy. Now I’m just trying to do my job and try to get back.”
With the exception of some stiffness that comes with not throwing, Chen said he’s pain free.
Betemit (Grade 2/3 PCL tear) also made strides over the past week, progressing with running sprints and taking batting practice.
Betemit said he hopes to be back shortly after the all-start break. The club it taking it slowly with Betemit so he can rebuild strength in his right quad muscle.
“Just the one week of running, I see it a lot difference,” Betemit said. “It’s a lot better. The first couple times I was a little scared but now I’m doing much better and better.”
Here at Tropicana Field the Orioles hope to get the bats going Saturday after being held to just two hits last night in a 2-1 loss.
One thing is for sure. When the Orioles get runners on base against Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, they need to take advantage. Opposing hitters are batting .362 off Hellickson with runners in scoring position and .478 (11-for-23) in those situations with two outs.
As expected, right-hander Pedro Strop has been activated off the DL. Asked whether Strop would pitch in the same situations he had right away, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he’d late the game dictate how he utilizes Strop.
Here are the starting lineups for today:
Orioles: McLouth 7, Machado 5, Markakis 9, Jones 8, Davis 3, Wieters 2, Hardy 6, Dickerson DH, Flaherty 4, Guasman 1
Rays: Joyce 9, Zobrist 4, Johnson 7, Longoria 5, Loney 3, Jennings 8, Scott DH, Lobaton C, Escobar 6, Hellickson 1