Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is likely heading to the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain.
Chen, who abruptly left Sunday’s 6-0 win over Minnesota after five shutout innings with pain in his right side, was re-evaluated Monday and the initial tests indicated that he will need to be shelved.
An MRI was performed Monday morning and team doctors are expected to read it later today.
“It sounds like he’s a candidate for the 15-day disabled list,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. “He’s going to need some rest.”
Duquette said Chen would likely need miss at least a couple of weeks, then progress back into starting form.
Chen, who has been the club’s most durable pitcher since the beginning of the 2012 season, was the only Orioles starter to make more than 20 starts last season, making 33 starts. Since joining the Orioles from Japan, the Taiwan-born lefty had been given additional days of rest to shoulder the added workload of pitching in the majors, but he’s remained healthy until now.
Chen, who is 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA, would become the second member of the Orioles starting rotation to go on the DL in the past week. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a slow-healing blister on his right thumb.
The Orioles already need an additional starter for Saturday to replaced Gonzalez. The club optioned left-handed reliever Mike Belfiore back to Triple-A Norfolk and could add a right-handed reliever or an additional bench player until making a move for a starter before Saturday’s game. The Orioles have already used nine starters this season and just two members of the team's Opening Day rotation -- Jason Hammel and Chris Tillman -- are still in it.
“We have some pitchers at Triple-A who are throwing the ball well and are options to join the major league club,” Duquette said.
If Chen is placed on the disabled list, the team could recall right-hander Steve Johnson from Norfolk. Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A following his start Saturday, but can return before the 10-day option window because it’s part of a DL move. He could work out of the bullpen until Saturday and if available fill that starting void