Manager Buck Showalter slated him to start the fifth game to give him more time to settle in as a big leaguer, but that also means he faces the Yankees right out of the box.
“I’m feeling nervous right now, a little bit. I’m just preparing the best I can right now for tomorrow,” Chen said through his interpreter this afternoon in the clubhouse.
“I’ve heard about them (the Yankees). In Taiwan and Japan they are really big names over there too.”
Chen went 36-30 with an ERA of 2.48 over the last four seasons with the Chunichi Dragons in Japan. The 26-year-old will become the first Taiwanese-born player to appear in a game for the Orioles.
Chen will be well rested when he takes the mound. He last pitched in a game on April 1 against Tampa Bay in an exhibition where he gave three homers and seven runs (three earned) over five innings in Sarasota.
He said pitching on so much rest would be unique.
“This is a new lesson for me. A new challenge for me, I’ve never had to rest that much,” Chen said. “The only thing I want to do is focus on tomorrow’s game. It’s definitely a different atmosphere from spring training. Everyone is doing their job. Everybody wants to win and tomorrow I want to win too.”
Chen said he has very much enjoyed his first few days in a big league uniform.
“I’m living the dream right now,” Chen said. “I used to watch the game on TV, but now I can be here with the Orioles. This is amazing here.”
I’ve heard it said often that the baseball used in Japan is different from what is used in the major leagues and asked Chen if that were true.
“When I first got here, it was a little slippery, but right now that is not an excuse for me anymore,” he said as the countdown toward his big league debut got closer.