Orioles will decide tonight whether Chen will get start in minors over the break

The Orioles could still send left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the minors so he can get a start during next week’s All-Star break, but that decision will likely be made tonight and be more based on whether the club needs an extra bullpen arm for the weekend.

Chen held the Texas Rangers to one run on three hits over seven innings Wednesday in his first start back from the disabled list, and while it is tempting to keep him on a regular pitching schedule, the team understands the importance of keeping Chen fresh for the second half. Chen has had a long five weeks of rehab that included going from Baltimore to Sarasota to Bowie and Harrisburg, and the break offers some rare time off.

If the club options Chen, he wouldn’t be available to come up until July 22 in Kansas City. Orioles manager Buck Showalter hasn’t set his starting rotation for the beginning of the second half and might want Chen to open the second half July 19 in Texas.

If an Orioles starter -- Chen and Miguel Gonzalez are the only two with minor league options -- does get sent down, he would likely pitch for Class-A Frederick, which is home next week.

Last season, the Orioles optioned right-hander Chris Tillman to Double-A Bowie to give him a start during the break there.

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