BALTIMORE — While Wei-Yin Chen languished on the disabled list for two months, despondent about his hiatus from the big leagues, the Baltimore Orioles struggled to fill out an inconsistent rotation.
Chen made his long-awaited return Wednesday night, and after he threw seven innings of three-hit ball in a 6-1 win over the Texas Rangers, it was hard to determine who felt the happiest: the Taiwanese left-hander, the other 24 players in the clubhouse or manager Buck Showalter.
“Winning the ballgame is real huge to me,” Chen said through an interpreter. “I proved myself tonight. I’m healthy, and I’m back. I feel like I helped the team to win. Everything is for the Orioles.”
Chen (4-3) had not pitched since May 12 because of a strained right oblique. The left-hander allowed one run, walked three and struck out four.
“I know he’s been anxious to get back with the club and make a contribution,” Showalter said. “It’s been a tough, tough road for him.”
And for the Orioles, who went through a variety of pitchers during his absence in an effort to fill out the rotation.
“Missed him,” Showalter said. “Glad to have him back.”
So were his teammates, who built a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning and coasted to the finish.
“He’s proven to be a guy who can get late in the games, and that’s huge for us,” second baseman Brian Roberts said. “That’s huge for every rotation, but I think it sets a really good tone for everybody else. For him to come back after being out two months, against that kind of lineup, is very impressive.”