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Chen wants to put controversial tweets in the past


Chen wants to put controversial tweets in the past

FREDERICK, Md. – It was an unusual setting for a most unusual scenario. The Orioles’ winningest pitcher of 2014, fresh off eight innings of shutout ball against the Philadelphia Phillies, pitching in front of a minor league crowd much more eager to see the “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo” than him.

Wei-Yin Chen threw 35 pitches in three innings for the Frederick Keys against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Saturday night and allowed just one hit, striking out two.

Chen was optioned to the Keys on Tuesday, ostensibly to keep him fresh. But, the Orioles also wanted to keep him from pitching in Toronto’s Rogers Centre, where he’s pitched rarely and not very well, and Fenway Park, where he’s had mixed success.

After he was optioned, he took to Twitter to write in English how disappointed he was.

On Tuesday, manager Buck Showalter said that he had spoken with Chen, and that he understood the move. Chen would be back with the Orioles on June 26, 10 days after he was optioned, and he’d make a short start here.

Five days later, Chen, accompanied by his usual translator, Louis Chao, addressed those comments for the first time.
“Nobody would be happy to get sent down when you’re feeling great and up there pitching a great game. We talked, me and Buck, we talked and I accepted it. I was disappointed but I accepted the decision because I think, I believe the team had good reason,” Chen said.

“After I got sent down here, I think that we better just leave it in the past. Just move on and get myself ready. My only focus is to help this team win a championship.”

Chen breezed through three innings, and allowed only a first inning double.

“I didn’t really do anything different. I just tried to stay the same and get myself ready to pitch back in the major leagues,” Chen said.

Shortly after Chen finished his start, rain began falling and the game at Nymeo Field was suspended after four innings, but not before the rodeo performed in the outfield.

“I just tried to do my best to do my routine and stay with the same feeling I was feeling. The team said they wanted me to have some rest, so I get a short start, All I can do is do my routine the best that I can,” Chen said.

He wasn’t worried about being skipped in Toronto or Boston.

“Maybe during the past, I didn’t have very great numbers against those teams. As a player, all you need to try to focus on the game and try to perform your best. I don’t really worry about how well they hit me in the past. Every time I go out there, I try to win. I try to beat them. I don’t even worry about those kind of things,” Chen said.

Between now and next Friday, Chen will throw another bullpen, perhaps at Bowie in preparation for his scheduled start against Cleveland.

In English, Chen briefly joked that the rain and the setting for his interview in an indoor batting cage reminded him of Sarasota, but he clearly is eager to get back to the Orioles.

There are no hard feelings, he insists.

“I’m not worried about that.  We’ve all got emotions, and the reason that I tweeted that is only because I wanted to make a point that I was healthy and ready to pitch. I don’t worry about anything between me and the Orioles,” Chen said.

“Let’s just leave the past in the past. I believe my teammates, they’re doing well now. Now, I really want to go back and pitch with them in the major leagues. I don’t think there’s any regret. I just won’t make any further comments about this. That’s it. It’s in the past, and we’ll just move on.”

MORE: Orioles' three-run ninth keys 5-3 win over Toronto

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Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

USA Today Sports

Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday after searching for starting pitching all offseason.

The 31-year-old Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in eight major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Miami and Texas, including 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last year. The deal with the Orioles has an option for 2020.

He'll join right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation.

"I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is, show up every day and whoever I can help out, help out and my job is to come here and pitch and win," Cashner said.

Cashner's deal could be worth $41 million over three seasons if he pitches 200 innings annually. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments each Jan. 15 from 2020 through 2021.


Cashner has salaries of $5 million this season and $8 million in 2019, and there is a $10 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 340 innings combined in the next two seasons. If he reaches 360 innings, it would become a player option.

He can make $5 million in performance bonuses each year.

There are $1,525,000 per season in bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 10 and 15, $625,000 for 20 and $400,000 for 30.

Cashner also can make $3,475,000 each year based on innings: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $275,000 for 130, $350,000 for 140, $750,000 for 150 and $400,000 apiece for 170, 180, 190 and 200.

Cashner was at the Orioles' spring training facility, and was due to head to his Texas home for a few days before returning on Sunday when Baltimore's full squad is required to report. He'll likely work out with the team for the first time Monday.

He has little experience against the Orioles, but said he was excited to join the team.

"It's a lineup you can't really make a lot of mistakes against," Cashner said. "It's a lot of power in there, and I got to pitch (for) San Diego one year in Baltimore. Really cool stadium, really neat, a lot of history. It's one of my favorite places to pitch, so I'm looking forward to making that my home (stadium) every night."


Manager Buck Showalter said Cashner would be an ideal addition to the club.

"He's a veteran starter. That's a good deal for both us and him," Showalter said. "He's a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor."

Cashner said that he began negotiations with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson last fall and in a challenging offseason for free agents, he said patience was vital.

"I don't think it's been difficult. It's been interesting. It's been different," Cashner said.

To make room for Cashner on the 40-man roster, Baltimore placed left-hander Zach Britton (Achilles) on the 60-day disabled list.

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Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

USA Today Sports

Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Even if Manny Machado doesn't switch teams this season, he almost certainly will be changing his position in the infield.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Machado will move from third base to shortstop this spring, and shortstop Tim Beckham will be shifted to third.

The shuffle will become permanent unless something goes wrong -- or Machado gets traded to another club.

"There could be some adjustments if we don't like the feel of it, but that's where we're going to head into it," Showalter said at FanFest, an annual offseason event designed to promote interest in the club.

Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop did not attend.


Machado becomes a free agent after this year and is sure to demand a huge contract. The Orioles have entertained trade offers for the 25-year-old, who's been an All-Star in three of his six seasons with Baltimore.

Dan Duquette, vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles, has to decide whether to deal Machado sometime between now and September or seek to sign him to a long-term deal.

"That's a big decision for the organization, obviously," Duquette said. "But we're planning on Manny being with the club. We explored all those options. We think the strongest option is for Manny to be on the ballclub."

Machado played in 156 games last season, offsetting a career-low .259 batting average with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs. He has averaged 35 home runs and 92 RBIs over the past three years.

Machado avoided arbitration this month by agreeing to a $16 million contract for 2018. He received $11.5 million last season.

Drafted as a shortstop as the third overall pick in 2010, Machado played third base with Baltimore next to slick-fielding J.J. Hardy, whose contract expired after last season.

So when they return to the field next month in Florida, the Orioles will have Machado at shortstop with Beckham on his left. Beckham came to Baltimore from Tampa Bay in July and played shortstop for the injured Hardy over the final two months.

"I think Tim would rather play shortstop, as Manny would," Showalter said. "Tim's big thing is getting an opportunity to play every day at one position. We need to settle both those guys into a spot and let them get into it."

Showalter said Machado was enthusiastic about the switch.

"All indications are, he's really excited about this," Showalter said. "I can't imagine him being in a better frame of mind or setup to do this. I think out of his respect for J.J. the past few years he's been very professional about it. But it's not like he's changing positions. He's going back to the position he's equipped to play."


Deciding what to do with Machado is only one problem Duquette has faced this offseason. He's also been trying to fill out a starting rotation that currently consists of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and perhaps Miguel Castro, who made his first major league start on Sept. 30 after pitching in relief for 75 games over three seasons.

"Obviously we have work to do to address some of the deficiencies on our ballclub," Duquette said. "We're going to continue to build our pitching staff, most notably the starting pitching."

If Castro joins the rotation, the Orioles will be further pressed to fill out the back end of the bullpen. Closer Zach Britton tore his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout and will likely miss the entire 2018 season, leaving setup man Brad Brach the odds-on favorite to take over as the stopper.

"I'm hoping I get a shot to close. I'd be lying if I say I didn't," said Brach, who served significant time as a closer in 2017 while Britton was sidelined with elbow and knee issues.

Brach had 18 saves but blew six chances.

"I think I did all right," Brach said. "Hopefully, I get another chance to do it."