FREDERICK, Md. - Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen got his outing in tonight at Single-A Frederick and pitched three scoreless innings against the Wilmington Blue Rocks before a torrential storm forced the game to be suspended after four innings.
Chen gave up just one hit - a first-inning, two-out double - and fanned two without a walk. He threw 35 pitches, 25 for strikes. He is expected to return to the Orioles and start next Friday.
But it was the postgame interview here tonight that was as much anticipated as his outing.
After the Orioles optioned Chen here on Tuesday, he sent out two tweets, and one said he was “disappointed my routine is being interrupted.”
Later his agent, Scott Boras, told the Baltimore Sun: “To disrupt a season like this for a pitcher of Chen’s status and to disrupt his routine, which is so important for a starting pitcher, is grossly irregular. I’ve never seen anything like this in the sport of baseball in my 30 years of doing this.”
Tonight Chen talked with reporters and made his first comments since Tuesday, speaking through his interpreter, Louis Chao, at Harry Grove Stadium.
“Nobody would be happy to get sent down when you are feeling great and after you pitched a good game,” Chen said. “We talked, me and Buck talked, and I accept. ... I was disappointed but still I accepted the decision. I believe the team had its reason. We just better leave this in the past and now my only focus is to help the team win the championship.”
Chen was asked if his tweets and Boras’ comments may have created any issue with Orioles management.
“I’m not worried about that. We all have emotions,” he said. “The reason that I tweeted that is because I want to make a point that I am healthy and ready to pitch. So I don’t worry about anything between me and the Orioles officials.”
While Chen is 3-4 with an ERA of 2.89 in 13 starts this year, he has a career ERA of 5.40 in four starts against Toronto. He was asked if he thought he was optioned to avoid pitching against the Blue Jays.
“Maybe during the past, I didn’t have very great numbers against those teams,” he said. “As a player, all you need to do is try to focus on the game and to perform your best. I don’t really worry about how well they hit me in the past. Every time I go out there, I try to win. I try to beat them. I don’t even worry about those kind of things.”
Chen said since Tuesday he has tried to stay in his regular routine even though he started tonight in the Carolina League and not the American League.
“I just tried to do my best to do my routine and stay with the same feeling I was feeling. The team said they wanted me to have some rest, so I get a short inning start here,” he said. “All I can do is do my routine the best that I can.
“Basically, exactly the same as I was doing this season. It doesn’t really change, no matter where I am. I’m going to throw another bullpen before my next, maybe in the minor leagues. I’m not sure yet.”
Does Chen regret anything that happened over the last few days?
“No, let’s just leave the past in the past,” he said. “I believe my teammates are doing well now and I really want to get back with them in the major leagues. I don’t think there is any regret. I just will not make any further comments about this. Now we move on.”
By the way tonight’s game was suspened by rain after four innings with Wilmington leading 1-0. It will be resumed here tomorrow at 1 p.m., with a regular-scheduled game of seven innings to follow. David Hess replaced Chen after the third inning tonight for Frederick.