BOSTON – Wei-Yin Chen wasn’t really demoted. The Orioles just need an extra arm in the bullpen. Chen was optioned to Gulf Coast on Wednesday afternoon, and will fly to Sarasota, Fla. and throw a side session on Thursday.
Chen was optioned to Gulf Coast because he had no minor league service time and could be. Gulf Coast’s season ends on Thursday, and he’ll be able to join the Orioles in New York and start against the Yankees on Sunday.
“Originally, I think he was thinking he had a bad outing [Tuesday] night and we were sending him to the Gulf Coast League,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That wasn’t the case at all. He understands. He understands.”
Chen allowed eight runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, but the plan was to send him to Gulf Coast no matter the result.
To make room for Wilson Betemit, who was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, the Orioles optioned Ryan Flaherty to Delmarva. Flaherty will play for the Shorebirds Wednesday and Thursday, and will play for Frederick from Saturday-Monday and rejoin the Orioles on Tuesday in Cleveland.
The Orioles would have preferred to let Chen work out in Baltimore, but they needed to send him physically to Gulf Coast in order not to circumvent the rules.
Showalter doesn’t expect there to be additional moves to make changes to the 25-man roster before Sunday. Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said on Sunday he was continuing to look for hitting help.
“Not that I know of. That doesn’t mean Dan doesn’t have something up his sleeve,” Showalter said.
NOTE: Betemit is making his first start of the season at designated hitter. He got his first at-bat in the ninth inning on Tuesday.
“There’s some unknown at what level he’s going to return at, but there’s only one way to find out,” Showalter said. “I’m sure he’s a little tentative.”
Betemit suffered a severely sprained right knee in the last week of spring training.
“To think that he’s going to come back and be the same physical runner, I’d be surprised,” Showalter said.