BOSTON -- The Orioles welcomed Wilson Betemit back to the roster on Tuesday, and he made his first start of the season on Wednesday. Betemit, a big part of Baltimore's lineup last season, injured his right knee in Spring Training and spent the last few months working back into playing condition.
The switch-hitter served as the O's designated hitter on Wednesday night, and manager Buck Showalter batted him in the eighth slot of the order. The veteran is a career .268 hitter with 75 home runs, but the club knows it will be tough to get him back to full speed in September.
"It's a big night for him," said Showalter of getting Betemit back into the batting order. "If for nothing else, just getting back all the way. I was really glad we could get him in the game last night."
Betemit was one of Baltimore's best hitters against right-handed pitchers (.302/.357/.502 in 255 at-bats) last season, and he saw time at first base, third base and left field. The Orioles have missed his bat this year, but Showalter said that injuries have affected virtually every lineup in the league.
"It would've been easier with him, but it's just one phase of the game you have to be good at to compete with the Red Sox of the world," said Showalter of filling in for Betemit the last few months. "It's an unknown what level he's going to return at, but there's only one way to find out."
Chen sent to Minors, but will return to make next start
BOSTON -- This is more of a coincidence than it is a matter of cause-and-effect.
One day after the shortest start of Wei-Yin Chen's Major League career, the Orioles optioned him all the way down to their affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. Baltimore made the move to free up a roster spot for Kevin Gausman, but Chen will also be able to return to make his next scheduled start.
The Orioles plan on bringing Chen back right after the Gulf Coast League season ends on Thursday, and he'll likely start for Baltimore against the Yankees on Sunday. By moving him all the way down to the Gulf Coast League, the Orioles can get Chen back a little earlier than otherwise expected.
"I think he was thinking that he had a bad outing last night and that we were sending him to the Gulf Coast League," said manager Buck Showalter. "That wasn't the case at all. His service time allowed us to send him there, whereas a guy like [Ryan] Flaherty could only go to the [South Atlantic League]. ... He understands. We would have liked to send him to Baltimore, but that wouldn't have been legal."
Chen is 7-7 with a 3.76 ERA, but he got knocked around for a career-high eight earned runs in Tuesday's 13-2 loss to the Red Sox. The left-hander missed eight weeks with a strained right oblique earlier in the year, and he's pitched to a 4.76 ERA since the All-Star break.
The 28-year-old didn't speak to the media on Wednesday, but Showalter said Chen will work out Thursday with Dave Schmidt, the team's Florida and Latin America pitching administrator. Chen will throw a normal side session before returning to the club this weekend, said Showalter.
"He is flying -- as we speak, I think -- to Sarasota with Tim, his interpreter," Showalter said. "The plans are, when their season ends on the 29th, to bring him to meet us in New York for a start on Sunday [when rosters can expand to 40 players]. I hope everything goes well."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.