SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Wei-Yin Chen looked totally at ease in his new surroundings.
Chen made a neat exhibition debut, pitching two scoreless innings for the Baltimore Orioles in a 6-0 win Wednesday over the Minnesota Twins.
Chen, a native of Taiwan, pitched in Japan the last four seasons. He retired the Twins in order in the first and, after giving up a leadoff single to Aaron Bates in the second, struck out Brian Dinkelman, Sean Burroughs and Ben Revere.
“I think the most important thing is the Twins’ batters don’t know me. That’s why I can strike out three guys in a row,” Chen said through a translator.
Chen signed a three-year, $11.3 million contract in January, and had worked on the Ed Smith Stadium mound once before — on Saturday — when his intrasquad stint had to be halted after he threw 31 pitches to five batters. After that game, he said he was still getting accustomed to the size of the mound and ball in the United States.
He was much more economical in this outing, and he credited catcher Matt Wieters.
“The last time I don’t feel comfortable on the mound. But today, I adjusted a lot and I felt comfortable throwing the ball to Matt,” Chen said.
Eighty percent of his pitches were fastballs, the left-hander estimated, and his biggest surprise was that five of the seven batters he faced swung lefty — and he said he didn’t know who any of them were.
Chen was thrilled to pitch in front of a live crowd.
“I’m still a human being. I’m still nervous the first time. This time I felt much better because this was the second time I was on the mound,” he said.
Armando Galarraga, trying to make the Orioles as a non-roster pitcher, followed Chen and threw two scoreless innings.
In his second spring start, Carl Pavano allowed a run and six hits in three innings. In five innings, Pavano has given up three runs and nine hits.
Pavano had a scary moment in the second. Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds tried to steal second, and Twins catcher Drew Butera’s throw hit a bent-over Pavano in the left forearm.
Manager Ron Gardenhire trotted out to the mound to check on Pavano, but the veteran pitcher insisted he was fine.
“I didn’t know we were working on me being the cutoff down to second,” Pavano joked.
“I had some funny things to say to (Butera). He’s never going to live that one down. If that would have hit me in the elbow, it would have been ugly. It’s tough to pitch with a broken left elbow.”
Gardenhire, who often finds lots to joke about, told Butera: “We would have had him if Carl hadn’t tried to block it.”
Robert Andino and Adam Jones had RBI singles for Baltimore. Jai Miller had a three-run double.
NOTES: Baltimore 2B Brian Roberts said he’s progressing in his recovery from a May concussion. He’s fielding ground balls and taking batting practice, but isn’t sure when he’ll be able to play in a game. “I look at today — that’s it,” Roberts said. … Orioles minor league C Mike Ohlman injured his right shoulder when his truck was sideswiped by a car shortly after leaving the team’s training complex on Tuesday. Ohlman said he wasn’t hurt seriously, and was scheduled for an MRI exam on Wednesday afternoon. … Twins 1B Justin Morneau played in a “B” game in Fort Myers, and plans to play Thursday against Tampa Bay — his first action in consecutive games. Nick Blackburn pitched two scoreless innings in that 4-1 loss to Boston.
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