The Baltimore Orioles have the American League's 13th best starting rotation in terms of ERA (4.82) as play begins on July 3. However, help is on the way. The Orioles acquired starting pitcher Scott Feldman on July 2 to help boost the rotation. Now, it appears that Wei-Yin Chen could rejoin the rotation early next week.
MLB.com's Orioles beat writer Brittany Ghiroli reports that Chen will make what the Orioles hope is his final Minor League rehab start on Independence Day. Chen will pitch for the Bowie Baysox Thursday, his second start for Orioles' Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League. On June 29, Chen pitched five innings, the first four scoreless. Manager Buck Showalter wants Chen to throw approximately 90 pitches on Thursday.
Chen's rehab schedule may have prompted the Orioles to make the trade that brought Feldman and catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for hard throwers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Ghiroli quoted Showalter about Chen's Thursday rehab start and the trade. Said Showalter,
"I'm hoping that's his last start there. "That kind of figures into some things we're doing, too. We had to get through his first outing there to see where we were in order to push the timeline a little bit up on this trade."
Chen is on the disabled list due to a strain in his left oblique muscles. He last pitched on May 12 when he allowed no runs in five innings. Five of Chen's eight starts this year are quality starts, and he has allowed more than three runs only once. Overall, he is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA.
Baltimore is currently in second place in the A.L. East, 3.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox. They have a high-powered offense, and with the addition of Feldman (3.46 ERA) and the pending return of Chen, the starting rotation looks better. If both can pitch as well as they have so far this year, the Orioles will be primed to make a run at a division title in the second half of the season.
Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau.
Like Raymond’s “Baseball Bureau” page on Facebook.
Looking for fantasy baseball advice?