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Wei-Yin Chen available out of the bullpen in tonight's game vs. the Nationals

In an emergency, left-hander Wei-Yin Chen could pitch out of the bullpen for the Orioles tonight against the Washington Nationals at Camden Yards, manager Buck Showalter said in his pregame news conference.

Right-hander Bud Norris will make his first start for the club tonight since returning from the 15-day disabled list, but if the appearance is cut short, the Orioles could turn to Chen in order to preserve their bullpen.

Chen hasn’t started since Thursday against the Texas Rangers, when he went six innings and gave up two earned runs. The Orioles were rained out Friday and Tuesday, meaning that if Chen were to start tomorrow as scheduled, it would be on six days’ rest.

Showalter said he still expects to swap the starts of right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez and Miguel Gonzalez. That means that if Chen pitches today, Gonzalez likely would start tomorrow. Otherwise, Gonzalez would take the mound for the series opener against the New York Yankees on Friday.

Because Gonzalez has minor league options, the switch would allow the club to send the right-hander down and call up an extra reliever before the All-Star break.

Showalter also said he hopes Norris can make another start before the All-Star break. If his start is brief today, he could conceivably pitch Sunday on three days’ rest.

Here are more pregame notes:

* Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz said he didn’t talk to center fielder Adam Jones about participating in Monday’s Home Run Derby. Cruz declined an invitation to the event in fear that it would affect his swing.

* Showalter said there were no plans for a two-city, day-night doubleheader after last night’s rainout. That game will be made up Aug. 4 in Washington.

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