In Bowie, Chen says he feels ready to return to O's rotation

BOWIE, Md. - Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, out since mid-May with a strained right oblique, said he's ready to return to the Orioles rotation after pitching tonight for Double-A Bowie. Now we wait to find out if the O's brass agrees with him.

He had one bad inning - giving up four runs in the fourth - over a five-inning outing for the Baysox. Chen gave up five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 79 pitches.

He used all his pitches and took a two-hit shutout to the fourth. He was sitting at 91 and 92 mph and touched 93 some with his fastball, so his usual velocity was there tonight. Chen said his outing was pain free, no problems with his oblique.

"To me personally, I'm ready to go and I can make my next start. But that is (Buck Showalter's) call. We have to talk to Buck first and make a decision," Chen said through his interpreter Tim Lin.

"I felt pretty good today. I worked with everything. Just the fourth inning, that was a big inning for me. But not a big problem for me."

Chen walked two of the first three Harrisburg batters in the fourth before two doubles and an RBI single followed. At 70 pitches, he breezed through a 1-2-3 fifth on just nine pitches to conclude his outing.

What happened in that one bad inning?

"I was trying to throw breaking balls to get first-pitch strikes, but it didn't work. I was behind all the time and threw some fastballs and they hit them," he said.

Chen faced Bryce Harper three times. He got him looking at a third strike on a 2-2 pitch in the first, walked him in the fourth and got him to pop out to short in the fifth. Jason Martinson hit a two-run double off him during that fourth inning.

As for facing Harper, call it a split between the two.

"I owned him once, he owned me once, so that's even," Chen said. "I don't want to think about that too much."

Chen, who was 3-3 with an ERA of 3.04 for the Orioles through eight starts, said he was pleased with his stuff and velocity.

"After about six weeks of rest, I'm satisfied with tonight's performance," he said.

If the O's put him back in the rotation, Chen could start either Thursday at Chicago or Friday at New York.

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