The news came via Chen's interpreter, Tim Lin, who sent out the following tweet earlier this morning:
"Light toss tomorrow -> big step!!! Please stop raining, Florida!!!"
Chen hasn't picked up a ball since sustaining the injury on May 12 in Minnesota. His most recent activity involved jogging in a pool.
Manager Buck Showalter mentioned last week that Chen still experienced discomfort in his right side, but it was diminishing. He couldn't provide a timetable for Chen's return to the 25-man roster until the left-hander threw off a mound without pain.
Chen hasn't reached that point, but it's encouraging news that he's ready to toss a ball on flat ground.
Showalter indicated yesterday that the middle of June would be a best-case scenario for Chen's return. In the meantime, Chen will be able to rejoin the Orioles this weekend because they'll be in St. Petersburg for a three-game series against the Rays.
Chen is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA in eight starts this season. He worked five scoreless innings against the Twins before leaving the game with the injury.
Notes: Tsuyoshi Wada's next injury-rehab start at Triple-A Norfolk is being pushed back to Thursday, giving him an extra day of rest. Wada allowed six runs (four earned) and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings on Friday, leaving his ERA at 6.11 in four starts.
Jake Arrieta is starting this afternoon for the Tides. Tuesday's starter is TBA because of the adjustment being made in the rotation. Left-hander Zach Britton starts Wednesday.
First baseman Travis Ishikawa is back in Norfolk's lineup for the first time since spraining his thumb on May 23. He never went on the disabled list.