Chen to go on DL on Tuesday

The Orioles are expected to place starter Wei-Yin Chen on the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres.

Chen, who was reevaluated on Monday’s off day, was diagnosed with a right oblique strain and the team will know the MRI results later on Monday night with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirming that a DL trip is likely.

“He looks like a DL candidate,” said Duquette who acknowledged that those injuries typically take “a couple weeks” before the player is eligible to return.

Losing Chen for any length of time is a serious problem for an already inconsistent Orioles rotation. The 27-year-old entered Sunday’s game –which he exited after five innings due to the injury– 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA. Chen was the team’s most reliable starter last year, the only pitcher to start at least 20 games, and had turned in five quality starts in his first seven games in 2013.

Duquette, who has stockpiled starting pitching since coming to Baltimore, said he felt confident with the organization’s internal options and the club should have room to add two players prior to Tuesday’s game with lefty reliever Mike Belfiore being optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles have two off days this week –they are also off Thursday—and remain optimistic that Miguel Gonzalez (blister) will only miss one start. In Chen’s place, the Orioles have their pick at Triple-A with right-hander Steve Johnson also an option because it’s an injury situation so he wouldn’t have to stay in the Minors for the minimum 10-day period.

Jair Jurrjens and Zach Britton could also take Chen’s spot, with right-hander Jake Arrieta more of a long shot given that he’s dealing with some right shoulder tenderness and missed Sunday’s scheduled Triple-A start.

Duquette also confirmed that the club will likely use the full 30 days allotted for the rehab assignment of lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who will make his first Minor League rehab start for Norfolk on Thursday. Wada is about a year removed from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow and had gotten up to seven innings in extended spring starts. His pitch count will stay around there as the organization works him back in slowly.

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