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Orioles

Orioles set post-All-Star break rotation, with Wei-Yin Chen pushed back

Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez will start the Orioles' first three games coming out of the All-Star break at the Detroit Tigers, manager Buck Showalter announced Saturday.

Showalter also said left-hander Wei-Yin Chen would start the series opener against the New York Yankees on July 21, forgoing an opportunity to keep Chen on regular rest after he starts Sunday's first-half finale against the Washington Nationals.

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The Orioles have a day off July 20 after the three-game set in Detroit, meaning Chen's first start after the break will be on eight days rest.

Showalter said Chen's spot in the rotation "puts him where he needs to be with the rest and everything." But Showalter acknowledged that Chen's history against the Tigers and the needs of the entire rotation factor into the decision.

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The All-Star break was a complicating factor for the rotation, but after sending Chen down for a 10-day stint in the minors last month, Showalter said he expected the lefty to pitch every fifth day for the rest of the season.

Showalter had plenty of other reasons to balance when laying out his pitching for the remainder of July.

Chen no longer has significant spikes in performance when he's on longer rest, but the team still likes to get him extra days between starts when available. The Orioles prefer to keep Tillman on regular rest, though, and with Jimenez's intricate mechanics, too long of a layoff could prove to be a detriment.

The break means that Jimenez, who threw five scoreless innings Wednesday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins, will pitch on eight days rest to open the second half, but as soon as possible given the four-day layoff for the All-Star Game. Tillman, who pitched Friday, will be on seven days rest, as will Gonzalez.

The fifth spot in the rotation is still unsettled, at least publicly. With right-hander Kevin Gausman scheduled to start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk and then have one more start, likely Friday, he could be on schedule to start July 22 against the Yankees.

That game falls on what would be Jimenez's day to pitch on four days rest, and right-hander Bud Norris, who has been in the bullpen since last starting June 29, could also be considered.

"We have some options there," Showalter said, "but we've kind of got it mapped out through the end of the month if everything stays."

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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