NEW YORK - Orioles manager Buck Showalter, sitting in the visiting dugout at Yankee Stadium while his club took batting practice, told reporters that he will make a decision on Wei-Yin Chen after the left-hander throws in the bullpen.
“If he’s physically ready, we’ll activate him on the fifth or sixth day,” Showalter said. “We’ve got some different options that present themselves now. We’ll take it day to day. The big thing is I want him to get through his work day first and see how he feels.
“Statistically, he pitched pretty good yesterday (at Double-A Bowie). One thing when you’re down that long, the one thing that doesn’t get stoked is your competitive juices. The last thing I told him was, ‘I want you to win the game. I want the Bowie team to beat Harrisburg and have a W next to Chen’s name.’ He started laughing and I said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ I said, ‘That’s what I’m going to be looking for.’ So I was glad from that standpoint.”
How complicated is it for Showalter to settle on a rotation that will have six candidates?
“I don’t think it’s complicated because we’re dealing with some good people,” he replied. “What’s complicated is when you don’t have a good option. We’ll see how things work in our bullpen the next two or three days. We don’t have to do anything for a while, especially with as well as Zach’s pitched.”
Showalter didn’t dismiss the possibility of a six-man rotation before the All-Star break, but he didn’t give it a big endorsement, either.
“It’s an option,” he said. “It’s one that is there for us if we so choose. I thought about it.”
Showalter used a variation of a six-man rotation late last season, substituting a sixth starter to provide rest for certain individuals.
“You get an idea of your guys who respond well to it and those that don’t,” Showalter said. “Miggy’s been one of those and we’ve got a couple others. The more you have a track record with some guys, you get a feel for... Some guys are just the opposite. I think early on, you want to get guys on that fifth day and get into their routine, but as you get into the season... But there are exceptions. Some guys don’t respond well to that, so it’s another thing where you better know your guys a little bit.”
Showalter wouldn’t confirm whether Zach Britton could move to the bullpen.
“I just want Zach to get ready for his next start,” Showalter said. “I just think he can be a contributor for us and I think all options are out there right now.”
Triple-A outfielder Lew Ford has been cleared for baseball activities after undergoing sports hernia surgery. Infielder Jonathan Schoop, on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his lower back, is still expected to begin playing on July 11 in the Gulf Coast League or with short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
Manny Machado turns 21 on Saturday.
“I’m pretty sure, knowing our guys, they’ve got some moments planned for him tomorrow that might be costly,” Showalter said. “What was doing 21 years ago? I can’t remember what I was doing yesterday.
“I just want to think that he’s going to be as good as he’s capable of being. And I feel comfortable with that. Whatever he ends up being, I won’t be around to see it. I’m hoping at some point, I’m watching games through some real thick glasses and saying, ‘I used to manage that guy.’ The ones that keep me up at night, I don’t know if they’ll ever reach their potential. And I think Manny will.”