Showalter provides medical updates on Chen and Machado

Pitcher Wei-Yin Chen's recovery from knee surgery in October has been "a little slow," according to manager Buck Showalter.

Reason for concern? Not at this point, but it's worth tracking.

Chen won't be attending next week's mini-camp in Sarasota, as I wrote previously, but pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti will fly to California and check on him. Chen is working out with Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Bud Norris and Brian Matusz.

Chen had small bone spurs removed from his knee in Vail, Colo.

chen pitching white tough sidebar.jpg"I think he's going to be fine, but he's somebody we're really keeping close tabs on," Showalter said last night during a call-in segment on the "Hot Stove Baseball" show on WBAL Radio. "It's not that he's had any setbacks or what have you. You've got to know each individual. Some guys are a little different with their recovery and what they tell you.

"We're trying to keep our arms around Wei-Yin. We think he's going to be fine, but it hasn't been as seamless as some others have been."

The "others" include Manny Machado (knee), Nolan Reimold (neck) and Dylan Bundy (elbow). All three will be in Sarasota next week for the mini-camp.

Showalter spoke to Machado a few days ago and casually brought up the photo of his third baseman with Alex Rodriguez, taken at a Jay Z concert, that appeared on Twitter.

"I check in with him every now and then, and of course I said, 'How was the Jay Z concert?' " Showalter said. "He didn't know that I knew who Jay Z is. Of course, I can't name a song by him, but that's OK. But we were laughing and he said to me, 'Buck, Alex came over for five or 10 seconds and somebody took a picture and that's all I saw of him, and the next thing I know, I'm hanging out with Alex 24 hours a day.' We laughed about it. What's he going to do, say, 'No, you can't take a picture?' I'm glad the young man's getting away from it.

"He feels great. I'm not going to put any false restrictions on it as far as, he's got to do this on that day as far as making the start of the season. He's worth waiting on.

"I have a gut that he's going to make it, but I'm not going to take any chances if we don't feel that it's in his or our best interest. But I think he's going to make it."

If not, Ryan Flaherty or Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar could be the Orioles' starting third baseman on opening day.

Note: Former Orioles catcher Luis Exposito announced on Twitter last night that he signed a minor league deal with the Tigers.

The Orioles apparently had no interest in bringing him back.

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