BOWIE -- Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen said his rehabilitation start at Double-A Bowie on Saturday night was pain free, and he is in line to return to the club during next week's road trip.
Chen allowed four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five in five innings of work against the Harrisburg Senators at Prince George's Stadium. Chen threw 79 pitches, 56 for strikes. He routinely sat at 91 mph with his fastball and occasionally touched 93 mph in his first rehab start after suffering an oblique injury May 12 in Minnesota.
“I feel pretty good today,” Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin. “Everything was working with everything.”
Chen allowed two hits through his first three innings, at one point retiring seven straight Senators. Four of those outs came when Chen got ahead of hitters 1-2.
But he ran into trouble in the fourth, allowing four runs on two walks, two doubles and a single.
Chen said his issues in the inning stemmed from being unable to get breaking balls over the plate for a first strike. Once he was behind in the count, he struggled to catch up with the Senators hitters, and it led to the early walks.
Chen would rebound to finish the inning with a fly out and a ground out, and in the fifth he retired the side on nine pitches.
“After six weeks of rest, I’m pretty confident I’m really good right now,” Chen said. “I’m real satisfied with tonight’s game and real satisified with the performance tonight. I tried to work hard and work every pitch and try to get everything out.”
The Senators lineup featured another major leaguer trying to overcome an injury. Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper started and batted second, going 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored against Chen and 0-for-3 for the game. In the first inning, Chen froze Harper looking for a strikeout with a 91-mph fastball on the outside corner.
“He's definitely a good player, and remember, we both are doing rehab right now, so I owned him once, he owned me once, so that's even,” Chen said. “I don't want to think about that too much.”
Manager Buck Showalter said Chen could return for the Orioles' upcoming road trip and start Thursday in Chicago or Friday in New York. Showalter already said Chen would make two starts before the All-Star break after his rehab was complete.
“For me, personally, I'm ready to go,” Chen said. “I think I can make the next start. That's Buck's call. We'll talk to Buck first and make a decision. Right now, I'm just getting ready and preparing for the next start.”