The Orioles are deciding whether to option left-hander Wei-Yin Chen during the All-Star break so he can make another start after being sidelined for two months with a strained oblique.
Chen made a triumphant return tonight, holding the Rangers to one run and three hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory at Camden Yards. He hadn't pitched since May 12 in Minnesota.
Asked if the Orioles are considering sending down Chen, Showalter replied, "To be frank with you, yes we are. I don't know if we're going to or not, but we talked about it during the day and decided to wait and see how he looked. And then we talked about it a little bit before I came down here and we'll talk about it a little bit more.
"We can option him. I'm not saying we're going to."
Chen would quickly rejoin the rotation following the break. He would have to stay down a minimum of 10 days.
The Orioles need him.
"He was good," Showalter said. "Missed him. Glad to have him back. Had a good live fastball, good late life. He got deep in the game for us and gave us a little blow in the bullpen. He was good.
"I know he's been anxious to get back with the club and make a contribution. It's been a tough, tough road for him.
"We feel like the five guys that we're going to run out there have the potential to give us a chance to win on the night they pitch. Some track record with some idea of they're going to not implode and they're going to give us some innings and stay in some games and keep us around, and Wei-Yin is a piece of that chain. He can't pitch every night, but he won't start again until after the break.
"It's exciting to have him back, but it doesn't mean we're just going to throw our glove out there. We've got to catch it and do a lot of other things to make it work. But I like our chances a lot better with him here."
Chen made two rehab starts at Double-A Bowie before being activated today. He tossed seven scoreless innings in his last outing.
"I think his last start was important in Bowie," Showalter said. "He really got his competitive juices flowing. It's been frustrating for him, I think, seeing us be challenged some, and the department that he brings.
"He communicates a lot better than people give him credit for. I asked Rick (Adair) tonight, 'Do you ever think about taking Tim (Lin) out there?' 'No, he understands everything I say.' And scarily, he understands everything Wei-Yin said. I don't know what that says about Rick. Something about body language, I guess."
Chen's teammates are glad to have him back.
"He's proven to be a guy who can get late in the games and that's huge for us," said second baseman Brian Roberts. "That's huge for every rotation, but I think it sets a really good tone for everybody else. For him to come back after being out two months, against that kind of lineup, is very impressive."
Roberts hit the longest single of his career, the ball deflecting off center fielder Engel Beltre's glove and scraping the top of the fence. Roberts was forced to hold at first as Matt Wieters scored from second after going back to the bag.
"I'm just glad he didn't catch it, so I'll take that," Roberts said. "I kind of thought it was exactly the way it was. I could see it hit his glove and it kind of rolled along the top of the wall. In general, there are some out there that can be misleading, but that didn't seem to be too bad."
Roberts didn't think Wieters would make it to the plate, which is why he held up.
"I got about halfway and I thought, 'Matt's not scoring, I'd better go back,' " Roberts said. "He told me I cost him a homer later in the game because he didn't have any legs left."
Chris Dickerson is having issues with his left shoulder. He strained it during batting practice.
"I felt something," he said. "You don't really know how it happens or why it happens, but it was a really good round of BP actually and I was feeling really good swinging the bat and just felt it on one last swing. It was a home run that was deep in the seats and something didn't feel right. It was kind of like this radiating pain. I didn't really think anything of it besides 'ouch,' and then took a round off and came back and the pain kind of died down a little bit. But as I continued to swing, it wasn't getting any better.
"This game, no sense trying to come out and be a hero. I knew I wasn't going to do anything for the team. Especially with how we've been playing, we don't need anybody hurt in there who's not up to 100 percent. I've had experience with this. I had my left shoulder done in '04 and I had my right shoulder done in '05 and it's very similar. The only difference is that it's very acute. It's just in one little spot and it's more like a strain as opposed to like a tear where it's like this radiating pain.
"I still have really good strength, so we're going to give it a day and see how it feels tomorrow, but I don't think it's anything too serious. But it is disappointing because it's my throwing shoulder as well and just because how freak it is. It's just that much more frustrating."
Dickerson said his MRI is scheduled for Friday if the shoulder doesn't improve overnight.
"I'll just get here early and we'll see what we can do," he said. "Just depends. Go home, go back in there, put a patch on it, some anti-inflammatories. Then just kind of start the road to recovery, depending on what happens tomorrow. Hopefully, fingers crossed, it's not that bad. I'd like to say it's pretty simple but you never know with rotator cuffs. They're pesky. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm just looking forward to getting past this and hopefully it's quicker than expected and I can get back in the lineup.
"It was in the follow-through, like when I was in extension is when I felt it. Then after that it just didn't really feel ... as far as moving, trying to stay inside the ball on my follow through, just trying to keep my shoulder supported up in that position, it was really difficult. Especially when you're not thinking about it. When you've got to think about certain movements, and if it's going to hurt or not, it's really difficult to go into a game like that. I finished BP. It wasn't anything that was debilitating as far as swinging the bat, but it was definitely painful.
"When it was warm, it wasn't that bad. But as it was iced, it definitely was stiffer and a little bit more painful. But it's a waiting game and we're going to remain positive about it. I'm not too worried about it as long as it's not a full tear like my right shoulder (in 2006)."
Former Orioles farmhand Ross Wolf is starting for the Rangers in Thursday's series finale.
Also, Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Henry Urrutia is 5-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored. He's batting .365 with the Tides.