Baltimore Orioles left-handed starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen threw a successful bullpen session yesterday. As a result, manager Buck Showalter says the O's have cleared Chen to begin his minor league rehab assignment, which will start Saturday for the team's Double-A affiliate, according to Derek Wetmore of MLB.com.
Chen has been sidelined since the beginning of May due to a strained right oblique. As is usually the case with side injuries, Chen's road back has been long and surrounded by vague statements regarding his return. Now that he's cleared his final hurdle before setting off on a minor league rehab assignment, it seems like the timeframe for his return has finally solidified. Showalter said that Chen will throw five or six innings on Saturday and, if all goes well, he'll be in line for activation.
This of course assumes Chen doesn't suffer a setback during his time in the minors. Considering Baltimore gave him over a month to recover before beginning his stint in the minors, the team has been playing it safe with Chen in hopes of avoiding aggravating the oblique injury.
The Orioles have sorely missed Chen's steady production in their rotation. The 27-year-old has been the team's most consistent starter over the past two seasons. Prior to hitting the DL, Chen posted an ERA and WHIP of 3.04 and 1.204 over eight starts spanning 47 1/3 innings.
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